A Good Day

I often feel blue on Good Friday. More than at Christmas it is a day when I miss my family in Ireland. Even after all these years.

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.

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20 thoughts on “A Good Day

  1. Distance from a loved one… either mortal, heavenly or even one’s younger self when older… can be brought into sharp focus at times of remembrance, celebration and anniversary.

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  2. It really is hard to turn back on the very foundation you were built in. It is like family. No matter how far you distance yourself from them, they will always be your family. I wish for you the peace and clarity you long for. 🙂

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  3. Hi LIBBY:
    I don’t know why it happens at this time of year – it just seems to hit me. Probably because Good Friday, in particular, is a time of contemplation.

    Hi BEAR:
    Oh, absolutely. It’s just the way it goes. Easter always makes me think about things. I think it’s because I have more time because I’m not rushing around buying presents.

    Hi CHRIS:
    The peace and clarity are definitely getting there. And you’re right about foundations – not easy to move away from. Thanks for your kind wishes!

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  4. I have always found Good Friday a bit depressing. My mother has always gone to extremes at Easter – she does the giving up something for lent, she gives up eating meat every Friday! I remember one Good Friday in Brisbane there was an enormous storm which hit at 3pm (and a man got killed by a lightning strike during the storm at Kenmore) – freaked me out. Have a happy Easter Selma, you and your family.

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  5. Is Good Friday still celebrated like that in Ireland?

    Although not particularly religious, I’m still puzzled by the fact that the postman comes on Good Friday, which is a religious holiday, but not on Easter Monday, which is not.

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  6. This time of year always takes me back to my childhood and turns me on to a slightly nostalgic mood. 🙂

    Have a Happy Easter!

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  7. “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.”
    Beautifully said Selma 🙂 I love making memories but it has always scared me a little to make them for I know that in time, I’ll look back to those moments and even though they’ll make me happy, I also know they will fill my heart with longings and the bitter taste of noticing how fast time flies…
    Holidays are like that too, they always trigger our longings with heavy dose of nostalgia.

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  8. Selma, life is precious, love is divine, trust is sacred.
    Based upon our own upbringing, we find reason to feel this more at certain times in our life – sometimes at certain times of the year. My memories of church are from my childhood, going to Sunday School, and then from singing in the school choir at Christmas time. Different people have different reactions at this time of the year, but I totally understand how you feel.
    I do hope that you find the clarity and peace that you seek. Just bear in mind that those who mean the most to us are always there – in spirit. Love is a bond that is ever present, transcending the many plains of existence, and keeping us connected to those who matter.
    Take care!

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  9. Hi GABRIELLE:
    That lightning storm would have been scary. I don’t know what it is about Good Friday, but a couple of people I have spoken to since I wrote this feel the same way. Hope you have a lovely Easter. It has been great to meet you via the blogosphere.

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  10. Hi TRAVELRAT:
    I’m sure it isn’t celebrated like that anymore. It has been a long time since I went to church at Easter, let alone church in Ireland. That is funny about the postman.

    Hi SHIONA:
    Nostalgia is a big part of Easter, for sure. It does make us ponder the big issues.

    Hi LUA:
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. These holidays make us realise how quickly time flies. Sometimes it is a shock.

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  11. I feel the same way on Good Friday. It is such a solemn day, and I often feel at a loss………. It is a day of grieving and a sense of loneliness. The silver lining though is that we can inhale the nostalgia around us and remember our roots, our connections, and the love we have all around us and in us.

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  12. I have these same feelings on Easter Sunday. When we were younger I had some traditions that I had started to pass on, but as we’ve gotten older Redbeard has gotten grumpier about those things, and we aren’t around family anymore. So it almost feels as though it’s the same as any other day, and it makes me sad, because I do believe in the Ressurection of Christ, and I’d like to have a little more freedom to celebrate as I used to. What he sees as commercialism and creating nonsense out of something sacred, I see symbolism and opportunities to create memories.

    Yuck – got awfully melancholy there. I thought your post was beautiful and insightful. Thank you for sharing your love with us!

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  13. “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.”

    Oh Selma. Even though I missed Good Friday, I am going to try and have a moment like that this evening. Thank you.

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  14. It’s odd how much we think of our extended family during the holidays. Sometimes even a particular song or movie will remind me of the things we did as kids and enjoyed as much as we could. With Vishu (Malayalam New Year) round the corner I am brought back to my childhood and spending the holidays with my cousins.

    Oh BTW, what is this I read? My cousin Manoj is labeled a wise person!!!! Ok Manoj, tell us who is typing away these comments from your keyboard for you 🙂

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  15. Hi DANA:
    You have got it in one. There is a strong sense of grief on the day which, I think, colours the day. Yet there is beauty too.

    Hi TEX:
    I take Redbeard’s point because commercialism is something I grapple with too. However, if anyone can find a balance between commercialism and tradition, it’s you. It’s my pleasure to share my easter musings with you!

    Hi PAUL:
    I think it is completely appropriate. Hey, great to see you!!

    Hi MELEAH:
    I hope you got to feel such a moment. That would be very cool.

    Hi ROSHAN:
    I think the holidays pull us back to the past, don’t they? You are wise too. Wisdom obviously runs in the family!

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  16. This past Christmas was hard on me, because it was the first in many years where the “stamped in stone” traditions were broken. Divorce does that.

    I thought I wouldn’t mind it so much, since my beliefs have changed and no longer coincide with those of my ex husband, but I missed it. Not the bible stuff, but the comfort of knowing what was going to happen next.

    Easter, on the other hand, didn’t phase me much, but then, after the kids got older and were no longer interested in dying eggs, I no longer thought much about it.

    But, I certainly do understand missing traditions and the people who made them special.

    Hugs to you, my dear friend.

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  17. HI KAREN:
    I really feel for you after reading your comment. Christmas would have been hard. I understand why you missed it. Traditions comfort us in many ways. Without them we feel a little bereft.

    Hugs right back at ya XXX

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