I went to the Stations of the Cross on Friday night and found that meaningful participation in this ritualized journey was a near impossibility for me. My mind and heart were not able to look at art and listen to readings at the same time while also immersing myself spiritually in the progression of a story that begins in torture and ends in triumph. Too much was coming at the same time and I was left feeling like a box of jigsaw remnants whose pieces instinctively wanted to fit together yet found around them only the lost parts of other puzzles. In thinking about this on the bus ride home, I thought—if I was overwhelmed by this, how much more so must Jesus have been when actually walking the journey.
The Stations are our fixed markers along the way…fourteen points in time, artistically rendered, that help us remember. What, I began wondering, would Jesus have noticed amidst what I imagine was a chaotic certainty of death? What aspects of that day unlike any other day–when history changed at the convergence of humanity, divinity, and eternity—would leave a mark on a condemned prophet, man, son, Jew, God’s beloved with whom he is was well pleased? I can not but think that the response might offer a different take than the tradition…if only because of a change in the “person” of the perspective—from omniscient third to crucified first. I mentioned these questions to a wise and generous friend. She replied simply—“Have you asked him?”
I hadn’t then but have since.
I remember the weight. Yes, the splintering oppression of the cross, but also from the garden the night before…the crush inside my own chest as the cold density of fear gathered to itself any loneliness I had ever felt. It was a terrible feeling.
I remember the extremes. The chanting, yelling, writhing crowd—and the moment when all was silent to me.
Silent…except for one sound, one vibration. That I could isolate and identify it under those circumstances on that day is a wonder to me even now. It was a honeybee, a loyal worker, consecrator of nectar, able to fly only in the absence of reason and the application of either folly or greater purpose.
I remember the field of purple flowers beyond where the crowd stopped. I remember losing the bee among the petals after I fell.
I remember a clarity washing over the heat that was accumulating. It came cleanly in the silence and freely in the eyes of those in the crowd who had also known the cost of Love.
I remember knowing as intimately as my parents’ love that pain or death could not, would not, bind me.
I remember the sun on my face.