Noon to three
Noon to three on Good Friday. The hardest three hours each year of my childhood.
I grew up Catholic. And that’s what I remember most about Good Friday. Noon to three. From noon to three we were ordered to sit in our bedrooms in silence. No speaking. No doing. This was to commemorate the hours in which Jesus hung on the cross. We were encouraged to use the time to contemplate His death and to say the Rosary or pray. To be still. Reverent. Quiet. An impossible task for a surely ADHD attention-starved little girl. How could I possibly spend three hours alone?
I don’t know if that was a family tradition or the church or part of our Slovenian culture, but thinking back on it now, I’m sure my mother looked forward to those three hours of quiet all year! Finally, I would not be asking million questions or chatting about nothing or bouncing through the kitchen. Peace had come to 5193 Stanley Avenue. She could use the time to hopefully hear the thoughts in her own head.
I think fondly of my mother a lot at Easter. Maybe it’s because Easter was more about the food than Christmas. And she loved to cook. Christmas was about decorations and presents and drinking. Easter was about the blessing of the Easter basket on Holy Saturday morning at the Slovenian National Home. Easter was about homemade bread and the anticipation of finally eating meat; the dried klobasi that had been hanging over the rafters in the basement. Easter was about the Sunday meal and the gathering of family and community. And of course, the Easter Bunny. Six bright plastic eggs that sat in green grass on the counter, each with the name of my siblings scribbled in black sharpie. Inside were goodies, or money. One year Lenny’s bright blue egg held a five-dollar bill with a note that read, “Get a hair cut.”
I am alone this Good Friday. and this Easter. And it is bitter sweet for me. I am feeling the pulling-apart of a thirty-year marriage, trying to look ahead to new traditions and new places to be, both physically and emotionally. I will miss being with James, but as I always say, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, The Fourth of July, Christmas… none of those compute in James’ mind. He does not know it is a holiday, nor does he need to set aside three hours to be grateful for who he is at his core. He knows. He believes. But I – I – absolutely need the three hours and then some. I need to remember to be quiet. To be grateful. To spend at the very least 180 minutes reflecting on what Jesus did for me. What he did for my soul. Who I AM because of HIS life and death.
I am beyond grateful that I get to spend my alone time this year in a place that my father fell in love with 20 years ago, Naples Florida. Even in my father’s death, he provided our family with a safe place to land. Where the sun and the sand can renew one’s spirit. This is the greatest gift he could have left us. We joke often that my siblings and I were called to my father’s death bed several times during the last few years of his life, to say goodbye. Once, it was actually on a Good Friday. I kissed him on the forehead and told him how much I would miss him. He surely wouldn’t make it to see Easter that year. I left for a gig Easter morning. And when I got to the airport I got a call. “Lynn are you sitting down? You are not going to believe this… but he has risen again!”
I took this photo of James the last time we were in Naples together. There was a storm. And then there was the sun. There is life and there is death and peace and joy come in embracing and being present in both.
Happy Good Friday.