A Holy Week Before Holy Week

I slide off my bed and reach for the box of tissues and know that they will be joining me in bed tonight. I pray prayers and cry tears and people get hit by trains and cars. I look back at the week and wonder how I got here.

Monday arrived and I was exhausted. Too early in the week to feel this tired. I text a friend I haven’t seen in a while. I joke and say it’s been so long he won’t recognize me with all my face tattoos. He says he feels alone, not sure how he got where he is, and not sure what he will do next. But he knows he feels alone.

Tuesday comes, and I tell my mom. She says he is a spiraling pit and I should stay away. But I’m a golden retriever who will be your friend no matter how many times you hurt me. When I say I will always be there for you, I mean it. It’s a promise I take seriously; they are words I won’t go back on. Still, I create cautious distance, carefully calculating each move.

Wednesday, I throw Frisbees, trying to hit buckets and miss almost every time. I take rocks and remember the things I hold onto, and drop it into a bucket of water, too shallow to show the truth of forgiveness we receive from God, who remembers it not.

Thursday, and I wonder why I always run into the cute guy in the office when my hair looks like it lost a battle with a tornado. His name starts with a letter besides J, so I allow myself the crush, knowing it will not turn into anything. Still he has that look I go for, the “I could chop a tree down at any moment” look. I don’t know why, but it gets me every time.

Friday brings hope for a non-busy weekend. Changes come and I feel frustrated. I extend olive branches. I ramble on about Birthday Oreos, so much so that bushy-eyebrow strangers in front of us at Target chime in on the conversation. “We loved Birthday Oreos, too,” they sympathize. Once again I fell in love with something that would not last. This time it was Birthday Oreos. Next time, who knows. I ramble and conversations never breach more than the surface. But I decide that’s better, and I leave with a new dress.

On Saturday, friendship takes the shape of a $1.50 Costco ice cream bar, dipped in chocolate and covered in chopped almonds. We share life together as her daughter runs around Costco, pretending to paddle and swim and talk about how the indoor umbrella will keep us safe from the rain. And I eat the ice cream bar and chucks of chocolate and almonds fall off on the paper.

Sunday comes, I get dressed and drink coffee and pull myself together, putting on shoes and fake smiles as I feel like a spiritual Sahara. I step into church and break bread with the one who will hurt me the most.

And I wonder how I got here.

But then I see that Heaven breaks in through holy moments.

I send a text with only his name. He responds the same way. He lets me complain about being hungry, and tells me “atta girl” when I tell him that I’ve eaten. He lets me write sentences without spaces and responds in the same way. But most of all he lets me tell him that I am a mess.

“So am I,” he says. When I ask what we should do, he says, “Trust God.”

He packs up, but doesn’t know where he will go. He has reasons to be a mess, but I’m a two-year-old crying about applesauce. I say applesauce, and he says yum. We both throw up shoulders not knowing what God’s bigger plan is in the middle of all of this. There are no answers.

I fall asleep mid-conversation. But Heaven breaks in, and there’s hope somewhere. I find truth in the corners of my life. God knows better than I. Now it’s Palm Sunday and the real Holy Week begins.

It’s Palm Sunday, and I cry, “Hosanna,” followed very closely by a cry of, “Maranatha!” Oh, Lord, I need you to come quickly.

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