Holy Saturdays of our lives
A wise and holy priest once told me that we don’t get to Easter Sunday without Good Friday. Simply put, we must go through suffering to get to “the good stuff”. But how do we trust that, in the suffering, God will indeed lead us to a Resurrection?
Holy Saturday is, in my experience, a day that does not get much attention. After all, the worst has already happened, and we are simply trying to process what the death of Jesus on the Cross can possibly mean for us. Two thousand years later, we have the benefit of knowing that Easter Sunday did, in fact, come. But what could that first Holy Saturday have looked like to the Apostles?
Grief. Shattered hearts. Darkness.
In my own infertility and miscarriage journey, so much was like Good Friday while I was trying to conceive, was actively miscarrying, or in surgery to remove my deceased babies. I felt as though I was hanging next to Christ on a cross. The pain was so intense that I felt death would have been a mercy.
Once I put some time between me and the trauma I experienced, I found myself in some sort of no-mans-land, that the emotions experienced were somewhat blunted. And I began to wonder what the “in between” could possibly mean for me. In other words, what could this “Holy Saturday” of my life teach me? Was this even a “Holy Saturday”? Could I trust God that Easter Sunday was coming? In a way, I knew that God had an Easter Sunday planned for my life, but when years passed and no Easter Sunday occurred in my own life, I began to wonder if it was coming at all.
I began to lose my faith. Somewhere deep down, I knew this was a mistake, to walk away from God like this and not stick around to find out what happened next but I turned to the world for comfort. I stopped praying and going to Mass. I began to look at the “child-free not by choice” community but it felt like wearing a shoe meant for the opposite foot. Many of the women held worldly values which were in direct contradiction to what I believed as a Catholic. Even though I was not practicing at the time, and there were many good women in the community, I couldn’t bring myself to identify as one of them. And in the Holy Saturday of my life, God began to break down my stony heart and helped me believe there would be an Easter Sunday in my life, even if it was nothing like I’d imagined.
I began to feel the call on my heart to try just one more time, to try the plan that my doctor had laid out for me. One by one, he was dismantling the stones that I had built in grief around my heart and soul. My Easter Sunday came in the form of my twin boys after four losses and eight long, hard years. My heart rejoiced! The Lord had fulfilled the desire of my heart, even though it was a weary journey to undertake.
Still, I wondered about my sisters who were in the middle of their Holy Saturdays. Their hearts still crushed with grief, longing for the good and holy desire to be a mother. Where did this leave them? Was I being completely blind to their grief and longing in the middle of my Easter Sunday? How could I share the message of hope and their great worth as a daughter of the King, even as I received the desired outcome to my prayers? I still don’t have all the answers to these questions. And I suspect I will not until my earthly life comes to an end. But I have an unmistakable longing to come to each of you and hold you in my heart.
Sisters in Christ, I know so many of you are in a Holy Saturday in your life. Not fresh off a Good Friday, yet not the outcome you hope for in an Easter Sunday. You have known immense pain and immense desire. You are praying that God will show you the path to all your longings. I don’t know what plans God has in store for you. But I do know that he plans to “give you a future filled with hope” (Jer. 29:11). Let us remain in this Holy Saturday, then, with the faint flicker of hope in the distance. Let us sit in the stillness of knowing that out of unbearable grief and suffering, the Lord is behind the scenes waiting to show us the marvelous glory of Easter Sunday.