I have been there before. That awful day after…..the one where you stare vacantly at nothing really. Your loved one is gone and you are shell-shocked. Everything feels surreal. Wasn’t it just the other day when you called him…when you laughed with her…when you….? Death is a kick in the stomach. The disciples have spent the day waiting and so have we.
That waiting must have been crazy-making. If the disciples had understood what Jesus was saying, how did they wait? Where they hope-filled or anxious? Did doubt begin to creep in? Were they exhausted from the whole ordeal?
Holy Saturday is a day that creates tension in life. We wait for the Resurrection and yet still mourn the death of Christ. No man’s land–not quite here or there. I have stood in such a place, between Burundi and DR Congo. The experience is an odd one. I remember distinctly that I stopped–something not encouraged–and let the feeling of being nowhere wash over me. A soldier with a gun eyed me warily. What was I doing, standing in no man’s land? It is not a place people choose to stand. It is disquieting. Yet that is exactly where we must stand today– in the unknown and discomfort of being lost in unfamiliar territory in a land called grief.
Society wants to walk quickly through these desolate, uninviting landscapes. Most of us prefer to remain in yesterday’s place before the cross or to leap into the future and look with longing to the resurrection of the Vigil tonight. The reality is that life offers us this no man’s land over the years and it is best to take a moment to experience it completely. We can make friends with what lives there, despite it not being the happiest of places.
On this awful day after, I pray that you have made friends with whatever demons are here. We do not live in the space long enough to understand it over the Triduum, but the lessons that we learn here are valuable ones. We learn that the darkness will not overcome us if we linger a bit. We can catch a glimpse of the Light that is present. We discover we are not alone. God may seem silent but the Holy One is not asleep. May we all find the courage to stand still for a moment and breathe in the lessons we need to gather here.
What is your reaction to no man’s land?
Have you experienced a horrible day after?
Jesus, where are you today? You are not here, but you are not there either. We miss you. Teach us to wait in this barren land with hope. Keep our eyes ready to catch a sighting of you. Show us that this too is a gift. Amen.