Why do they call it Good Friday?

"Why do we have Friday off?" my daughter asked me the other day from the backseat while we were running errands.  Before I could answer, she says "oh yeah, because it's Good Friday.  Why do they call it Good Friday?"

"Because that's the day that Jesus died on the cross," I said, only half engaged.  I had my eyes on the road and a lot on my mind, and I wasn't terribly interested in her questions because sometimes she asks questions she already knows the answer to just because she likes the sound of her own voice.  When my mind is full of other things it's really hard for me to want to play along with this game, and since my kids go to a Christian school and I know their teachers have been talking about Easter for weeks, I was pretty sure this was one of those times.  However, she persisted.

"But, that's mean!" she declared.

"What?"

"That's mean!  It's mean to say it's a good day because Jesus died." She was emphatic now.  Ok, time to engage myself.



"Do you know why Jesus died on the cross?" I asked her.

"To take away our sins," she said.

"What does that mean?" I asked.  She was silent.  "It means," I said, "that because Jesus died on the cross we can have our sins forgiven and live in heaven with him after we die.  Do you know what it's like in heaven?" I asked.

"Like, it's all perfect and nobody's sad and there's nothing bad, right?"

"Yup.  Doesn't that sound good?"

"Yeah."

"Do you understand now why they call it Good Friday?"

"Yes."  She paused thoughtfully. "Hey, mom?"

"Yeah?" I said, now expecting another meaningful question.

"Can I play my DS now?"

(That's my girl.  Deep one minute, shallow the next.  Gotta love her.)

*****

So today is Good Friday, and this somewhat-anecdotal exchange came back to me quite unexpectedly as I shuffled around the kitchen this morning, drinking my coffee and trying to get a few things done before we go out for the day.  I sat down to write out a sympathy card for a coworker/friend, whose week was shattered when her husband showed up at work on Wednesday to tell her that her beloved brother had suddenly died.  My grief-themed-life-lately has given me lots of opportunities to put that sort of sentiment into words, but writing it to her in that moment hurts my heart more than I expect.  I click onto facebook for a second and see a status update from a MOPS friend, whose 37-year old fiance was brutally murdered a few years ago.  His killer was just sentenced this week, his trial was front-page news, and I thought again about her family and what they have gone through.  Clearing off my cluttered counter, I finally look through the packet of information from my daughter's Little League team meeting the other night.  A familiar lump rises in my throat when I notice on the team directory that our little friend Tommy is the only child on their team who does not have his daddy listed in the "Parent #2" column.  That's because his daddy is in heaven, and while I am already well-acquainted with that fact, for some reason in that moment seeing it hurts my heart more than I expected too.

I see so much sadness, just over coffee.

And then, in a flash, the conversation with my girl returns to me.

"Do you know what it's like in heaven?"

"Like, it's all perfect and nobody's sad and there's nothing bad, right?"

"Yup.  Doesn't that sound good?"

"Yeah."

*****

It's not peace and a life free of struggle that shows us how good Good Friday is.  It's the darkness of grief and pain that cause the light of Christ and the joy of heaven to shine most brightly.  

"Do you understand now why they call it Good Friday?"

"Yes."

Yes, I do.

I love how, with God, nothing is wasted.  Not even an anecdotal conversation with a little girl who likes the sound of her own voice.


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