I miss the ritual of going to church. Of wearing my new shoes and the dress stiff with starch. Of my cousins Jessie and Patrick breaking the Lenten fast early with chocolate drops and humbugs, brazenly popping them into their mouths during the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord. Of the time Patrick gave my other cousin, Aine, a gobstopper that stained her lips blue and she had to spend the rest of the day being told she was a sinner by my grandmother.
Of the time when my sister was only about three and she got Christmas and Easter mixed up and kept shouting out in the middle of the church:’ What happened to the baby Jesus?’
My Aunt Nellie cried during the liturgy once, overcome at the pain Jesus must have felt as he was nailed to the cross. She is one of the few people I have met whom I felt lived in a Christ-like way.
My Grandfather, a normally quiet and unassuming man, used to sing with such passion I would stand with my mouth open, surprised at the clear, powerful voice coming from this man who usually let my grandmother do all the talking.
I miss the ritual. The sanctity. The reverence. When I was in church on Good Friday and again on Easter Sunday I was convinced I believed. I did believe.
It is hard not believing as much.
On this Good Friday, whoever your gods are, I hope you find a moment of clarity and faithfulness where you feel that life is precious and sacred and maybe even a little divine.
I hope you remember that the things we held dear as children stay in our hearts long after we have grown. And that memories and love have a power all of their own.
I miss my family today but in some strange way I know they are with me.
Even after all these years.