Twenty-eight years ago I was nineteen and half-way through the second semester of my sophomore year in college. It was Good Friday. Although I was raised in church, annually celebrating Good Friday and Easter that follows with all of the fullness of our Christian love and gratitude as we remember on these days which are foundational to our faith, this particular year I did not even realize the day had arrived. Partly, because I had lost fellowship with church and partly, because it was also Friday 13th. I spent the majority of that day making jokes about nonsense superstitions. For 27 years, I only remembered two things about that day. It was Friday 13th and it was the day I was raped. Until last year during therapy when I discovered that day was also Good Friday.
During therapy we were processing my rape. Those are words I could not even utter for many years, “my rape.” I rejected the notion of owning what happened to me. I wanted as much distance from it as possible. I did not want to own what had owned me. Then, I saw those words written in my journal. My eyes read over them and stopped—hanging in the silence. What did I just say? Am I nuts? If it owns me it retains power over me. I don’t want that. I can’t allow that. I read a quote from Brene` Brown, “We can only write the ending to the stories we’re willing to own.” Suddenly, it was easier to own this awful thing because owning it contained hope. Like the hope that arose in realizing my worst Friday was someone else’s worst Friday too and that person’s worst Friday led to my best life.
I remember a scene in the movie, The Shack when Mack accused God of abandoning Jesus on the cross and furthermore, abandoning him during years of abuse in his childhood, and of abandoning his daughter when she was kidnapped and murdered. God responds by placing his hand next to Mack’s revealing the hole in his wrist and says, “Don’t think for a second what my son chose to do he did alone. It cost us all. I was with him.” Watching that scene I knew this was about a principle in God’s character. On the Friday when it felt like I died God had been with me too.
Now, when I approach Good Friday I remember what I know—what my very body knows, how dead and hopeless, how helpless and broken, how empty and hollow the Friday that takes away feels. Yet, I do not remember without hope. Friday isn’t the end of the story. An anonymous writer puts it this way, “You were not ashamed of your wounds, you showed them to Thomas as marks of your ordeal and death. I will no longer hide these wounds of mine. I will bear them gracefully. They tell a resurrection story. By His wounds you have been healed.” My wounds are intrinsically bound up in the wounds of Jesus. His power to rise from the dead became my power to rise from the dead. The wounds that brought his death give me life. They are my resurrection story. This year Good Friday converges with another holiday. Not one I make fun of but one that proclaims my freedom. Good Friday and Passover collide wrapping within this day One powerful truth: I escaped death—Life is my resurrection story.