As a child, the term “Good Friday” mainly represented a longer holiday and the coming of Easter–chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, a new Easter outfit (complete with patent leather shoes, a hat, and white gloves–the uniform of every little southern girl). It meant going to church with my parents, as we did every Sunday. Still, I realized that Easter was special. So the term “Good Friday” seemed all good to me!
As I grew older, the term “Good Friday” puzzled me. I understood more about the Easter story, about Jesus’s passion and death and resurrection. But that focus on Friday, the day of His death with all its pain and suffering, seemed anything but “Good.”
As I continued to learn and to grow in understanding, I was able to wrap my mind around the concept a bit more and to begin to handle the complexity, the necessity of Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf.
So “Good Friday” really is a matter of perspective.
And it is precisely that perspective that gives us our viewpoint on absolutely everything else in our lives.
Some, for example, might view this picture of the woods as ominous, holding the unknown; others, like me, might view it as inviting, offering a respite from the busyness of the world. Perspective!
Sky Guy, pictured at the top of this post, certainly had a different perspective on the world from the one I had as I sat on my porch at the river and snapped his photo. Lovely as that view was from my vantage point, it was surely even more spectacular, impressive, all-encompassing from the pilot’s point of view.
Yesterday afternoon I visited my good friend and former colleague, Ann, who has terminal brain cancer. Her malady grabbed hold suddenly–and with a vengeance. One day she was fine–enjoying a beach vacation with her family. There’s a lovely photo of her with her grandchildren, surrounded by sand and surf and sun and smiles. The next day she was doing nonsensical things. And within another day she was in the emergency room, no longer wrapped in her grandchildren’s hugs but ensnared by a dire diagnosis.
Ann doesn’t say much anymore, her faculties diminished by the aggressive tumor and by her pain medications, a tragedy for anyone, but worse for Ann because she was a very fine poet. Words were her thing. Now, she manages a smile, a nod, and even uttered “thank you” yesterday, much to my surprise. Her eyes spoke to me though, unlike some days when she has a blank stare, her consciousness quieted with her pain.
So I have to carry the conversation. I chat and tell her what I’ve been doing, trying to bring a little liveliness into her stagnant condition. In an effort to look on the bright side yesterday, I said, “At least we’re not grading those danged research papers! You know we’d be up to our eyeballs in that mess if we were still teaching.” No sooner were the words out of my mouth than I realized how much she would give anything to be able to be up and working–even to be slogging through mounds of freshman writing, tedious as that was.
Five minutes later I caught myself–too late again–saying that I needed to leave to head to WalMart, adding that I’d rather have a nose bleed than have to go do that because I was tired.
Again, a matter of perspective! What Ann would give to be able to be up and to go anywhere–even to WalMart on a busy holiday weekend!
We can look at life–and at death–in so many different ways. It really IS all a matter of perspective!
And because of Good Friday and what it really means, we can look at life and a death in a very special way.
Here’s one more picture. It illustrates a complete change of physical perspective for me. Usually at the river, I sit on the porch or walk the riverbank, looking across the water either to the other side or to the island in midstream. Sometimes I see a different view from the boat. But one day Chops and I paddled over to the island, got out and walked around, fished, and just sat. I seemed to be in a different world–a shift in perspective. I like this photo because, somewhat like the picture of the woods, it suggests a path, a journey, one that holds treasures. I like the sun glistening gold on the water. Reminds me of Heaven, the wide world and water opening up into a whole new adventure, one that never ends. . . .
All because of Good Friday!
Blessings on this Blessed Day,