It's quiet this morning up on the bluff. It usually is, unless the creatures in the canyon get into a pre-dawn skirmish, but that's a marker of summer and we're just barely into the tendrils of spring.
There is no wind, even though I sometimes secretly wish there were. Jon comes to visit on the wind, and I woke up with him on my mind, which is right where he was when I went to sleep last night.
What a name.
It's supposed to be good, because we know the end of the story already – that we're about to have the promise of forgiveness in a few days, and boy could we use it. I only went to confession once, and I lied the whole time because my sins were not age appropriate. Instead, I told the priest I had stolen some candy from the 7-11, even though I've never stolen any thing ever, because I was too ashamed to sit in the darkness and tell the truth.
I often still am.
The priest sent me home with a few prayers to say, and I hoped that the same prescription to treat stolen candy would work for lying to my parents about sleeping with a much, much older man. Maybe stop that madness, too, if I'm honest, but at the time I couldn't be.
In later years I would learn that the forgiveness I'm seeking on behalf of others offers no respite for me. That Mary herself cannot absolve one of Stockholm Syndrome, and that lies beget lies and the punishment is crucifixion. No amount of 'good enough' can protect you from the weather.
I've never been much of a Catholic, despite attending church on the weekly and participating in a number of sacraments. None of it resonated with me much until I saw Jon up on a cross, the man I loved crucified for the benefit of others, scripted by Andrew Lloyd Webber, enacted by the graduating class of 2003. Now I can't see a cross without seeing Jon's face, and hearing 1970's rock opera.
So naturally, on the eve of Good Friday, my thoughts drifted back to the man I saw crucified, resurrected, and then struck down by the circumstances of life. In the past I used to chide myself for grieving a loss I couldn't have prevented while simultaneously holding the nagging thought that maybe I could have done something. Maybe if I had been a Better Girl and Done Something else, that he wouldn't have frozen to death. The dying is bad enough, but there is something so much more gruesome about god stealing your last breath without leaving a mark, just slowing and stopping your heart.
Something so lonely.
There is wisdom in a dedicated day of grieving. I'm not making this one up – just ask the Germans, who call Good Friday “Grief Friday.” I'm not sure if Disney got to this one and white-washed it along with the other Tales, or if it was a sloppy handwriting snafu, but I'll say its a vote for the humility of the multilingual, that there is always more to the story.
I started telling the truth recently, inspired by a lesson from my friend Zreba. My grief would wake me in the middle of the night, and I would cry and be angry that I couldn't seem to rest despite needing sleep so badly. Pardon me for mixing faiths here, but in my appropriated version of Islam, God comes close in the early morning hours to hear our prayers. So now when I wake, as I did this morning, it is an opportunity for prayer. A date with god, who apparently has something to say.
Grief is not a phase, it is a cycle which is activated by an unseen force - barometric pressure or the Mayan calendar. And there is goodness in it, too. Even without knowing that resurrection is possible, that death is temporary, that wisdom is greater than the confines of my feeble mind.
The Truth of the matter, the gift of Easter, is that in the end, even this will be beautiful.