Recognizing how difficulties “bad” help us appreciate easier times “good”

This article is written by Hope Miller, TNSM parent and member of the Diversity and Community Engagement Committee (D+CE) and expresses her views. At TNSM, we are grateful to have this D+CE forum that allows opportunities for members of our community to share their own beliefs, always with the goal of  expanding our understanding of each other’s experiences and points of view.

We live in a Good Friday world—a world of perennial bad news and immeasurable sorrow. The tragedy in Ukraine, the never-ending pandemic, our sobering history/reality of racial injustice, the quickening pace of environmental destruction…I could go on. But what makes Good Friday “good” is also what makes our world “good”: the wild promise that better days will come. The tomb will be empty.

In the Christian tradition, Good Friday—the Friday that falls before Easter Sunday—marks the day Jesus was crucified for, among other things, being the King of the Jews. Through his death, he fulfills the Christian prophecy of an ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Three days later—Easter Sunday morning—his tomb is inexplicably empty, and his body is gone. This presumed resurrection marks Jesus’ triumph over death, thereby restoring humankind’s relationship with the Creator. 

While I don’t consider myself a practicing Christian (organized Christianity hasn’t been too kind to gay people over the centuries…or even now), I do take solace in Christianity’s bold metaphors, in particular the 40-day trudge through Lent that, finally, after a weary road, reaches a joyous crescendo on Easter morning. Indeed, this is the only way to get to Easter. We have to go through 40 days wandering in the desert just to get to that one jubilant dawn. 

This is how life goes, isn’t it? This is how meaning is made. We sit tête-à-tête, in wonder, with the flowers and forsythia because the wilderness was dark and forsaken. We belt out ALL the Alleluias because we’ve spent more than a month beating our chest in penitence. We recognize the beauty…because we’ve seen the barren. We can only recognize the beauty because we’ve seen the barren. We delight in the flourish of springtime because we’ve endured the bleak winter. We cherish the kind word because we’ve suffered the harsh ones. I don’t think it can be any other way. 

Whatever your religious or cultural tradition, I invite you to hold onto the power and promise of Good Friday as we head into Easter weekend. As you’re hiding Easter eggs or gorging yourself on Peeps (why? No, really, why?), or going to church for the first time since Christmas Eve (I see you), make time to revel in the profound hope that when we roll back the stone, the tomb will be empty. With the sorrow comes the joy. Because of the sorrow, we will know the joy.  

Does your family observe a tradition or cultural holiday that you’d like to share with the TNSM community? Do you have a passion for or expertise in a certain area of DEI? The D&CE committee is always looking for books, resources, and classroom speakers to help deepen the cultural competency of our school community. Please reach out to us at [email protected]

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