“It wasn’t until my mid-twenties,” my friend said, “that I learned about Jesus’ Resurrection; that Easter wasn’t about chocolate, bunnies, and family parties.”
I took Good Friday off. My friend wanted to come over and simply, “rest” in my company. That’s how she put it, and recalling her very busy schedule, I am both complimented and amused. We were sitting in my living room in front of the big picture window. She made coffee and I put on a kettle of water for hot tea. My new favorite tea is Numi’s “Gunpowder Green.” It’s expensive. Once in a while, I like to splurge.
“Really?” I stirred my tea, waiting for the color to change. “That’s…”
“Weird.” My friend laughed after commenting. She picked up her mug and sipped the coffee.
Georgia lay by the front door. She raised her head once in a while to see if I noticed. It was her way of saying, “Open the door please. Let me smell the spring air, feel the warm sunlight on my fur, and try to catch the flighty birds.” I shook my head.
“Sort of.” I replied finally.
“Well, you know, being raised without church, Easter was just one of those mornings where you woke up to a basket and went over to the family gathering to hunt for eggs and eat too much candy.”
“Not to mention comparing Easter baskets.” I nodded, recalling my own fond memories.
“My cousin always got the best stuff.”
“What was that?” I had to ask.
“Cadbury Eggs and Peeps. My basket had lots of hard candy and jelly beans; not so much high on the chocolate. My parents were stingy on the candy.”
Talking about her family is hard for my friend. I’ve walked through the pain with her on numerous occasions. These days it’s refreshing to see her speak of them in more conciliatory tones. Her face, even now, looked at rest. The lines on her forehead were smooth. Her eyes rested embarrassingly on her coffee cup, avoiding my gaze. People who avoid others eyes on emotional subjects aren’t avoiding truth; they are avoiding showing the pain inside to the person across from them.
“When did you discover the truth about Easter?” In the background, soft music played. Currently, I am a Tim Janis fan. It’s conducive for conversation.
My friend leaned against the couch and rested her arms on the backs of the cushions. “Good question. I haven’t really thought about it.”
“Well, inquiring minds want to know.” I waited.
The silence between us wasn’t uncomfortable; just long, as the sunlight flowed between us highlighting the embarrassing dust mites in the air. Finally, my friend spoke:
“I’m not sure when. It was in church…a Christian church. They were talking about Easter and Good Friday and I remember feeling surprised. I had heard about the sacrifice on the cross–sort of--but didn’t know it had anything to do with Easter. Of course, I didn’t say anything to anyone. I was an adult. I attended church with my family. What would church-goers say about an adult not knowing the basics like that?”
“I don’t know.” I said. Faces of the people who sit around me came to mind. Are questions welcome in the church? I have always asked questions from the perspective of a believer. The pastor knows me. My Sunday School knows me. If my friend in her mid-twenties had commented to someone sitting next to her, “Hey, is that what Easter is about?,” would that have been received well? I would like to think people would have been kind. People probably would have been mute with surprise. I know that our doubts become fears that keep us from growing. We fear the worst, and the worst never happens.
“You didn’t become a believer though.”
“I thought I was.” My friend finished her coffee.
We talked til just about two hours ago. She left to go to work. I washed the cups and kept rolling her words over and over in my mind. Georgia meowed impatiently from the door, using her paw to scratch at the wood. I walked over and opened it so she can sit by the screen.
Today is Good Friday. Good Friday is, “…a day of mourning and sorrow over the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and a reminder that the sins of all people made it necessary for him to die in the first place. It’s also a day of gratitude for the supreme sacrifice that he made.” I used someone else’s explanation so you can investigate it for yourself. It is my prayer that you’ll attend a Good Friday service and learn more about Jesus.
Mostly, I hope you’ll be brave enough to ask the questions you have on your heart to someone at that church. My friend’s testimony is about the power of the Holy Spirit helping her find her way. That’s a comfort for those of us who pray for unbelievers in our family, especially the Mormon members. Ours is not a religion. It’s a belief in One that is all-powerful and holy. It’s an invitation into a relationship with our Creator.