It’s been five years since my life took a strange sideways turn. I’ve written about it before (HERE, and HERE for example). It has made Good Friday a very strange day for me, personally.
This year I’m in a better place personally and emotionally than I usually am by this time in Lent. Sermons are done (I think). Family is coming. Everything is okay. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but sometimes, that’s all you have, and it is enough.
I pray for all my fellow sufferers that Christ’s death and resurrection would sustain you in the true faith to life everlasting. Your labor is not in vain. Your suffering will come to an end. There will be peace for you.
Grant peace, we pray, In mercy, Lord;
Peace in our time, oh send us.
For there is none on earth but You, None other to defend us.
You only, Lord, can fight for us. Amen. (LSB 778)
Three years ago Good Friday I seriously contemplated taking my own life. I’ve written about it before. Here is my post from last year.
My observation from this year is that I am struggling with negative thoughts. Good Friday truly is good. This is the gift of life that God gives to each one of us in the death of His Son. But for me, Good Friday is a reminder of arguably the worst days of my life. I don’t like the association that I have between Good Friday and those dark days and nights. How do I replace these negative memories with positive ones? I feel sometimes like negative memories are a mental cancer that eats away at me, that draws me back into the darkness. I don’t want them. No, I hate them. But I don’t know how to get them out of my head.
I feel like I need a mental reboot somehow. I want to erase these memories, overlay them with something brighter, think of God’s mercy and not my own weakness and failings. It will come. I believe it.
Despite all of my own struggles, I have a wonderful wife and family, a great congregation, and very very good friends. They keep me alive, and keep me going.
God’s peace be with you all this day.
Good Friday is really about life for me. Two years ago Good Friday, I was sitting at home, preparing for my minimal role in services. I had been on disability for about 2 months, and things were going fairly well. I got a phone call from the people that handle disability claims at our insurance company. They were just calling to inform me that since I had shown “some” improvement according to my doctor, that they were taking me off disability.
This began a series of events that I can only describe as surreal. I began a downward spiral that brought be to being suicidal. It was a gift from God that we had the divine service that day, for without that, I don’t know what I would have been doing. My pastor stayed with me as much as possible. I was a zombie, barely conscious, yet fully believing that there was no way I could get out of this, no way I could recover from such a blow. If I didn’t have the time and space I needed to heal, then I would only get worse. What was the point?
But God is merciful.
I lived. Somehow our Lord got me through the Great Three Days. After Easter I went to stay with some dear friends for a couple weeks to rest and try to recover some level of sanity and normalcy. Things got better. It took a long time, with setbacks along the way and all kinds of other gunk to go through, but things did get better.
So Good Friday for me is about life. It’s about that life God gives to each one of us. It’s about the Life that was given for my life. It’s about the gift of seeing my children grow up, having friends and family who care deeply for us, and it’s about the ongoing work that our Lord does to keep us in the faith all the days of our lives. No matter how dark the road.
A blessed Good Friday to you.