A Place for All Women

Archive for March, 2013

Did They Drop the Nails?


The old Catholic convent smelled like smoke as we walked toward the flickering glow of small candles illuminating TVCthe altar.  Everyone had been handed a nail and most of us knew what we would be asked to do before the night was over.  It’s an annual tradition, a ritual of sorts, and a precious opportunity that only comes around on Good Friday.  Sometimes I think I would rather not go.  I came up with any number of excuses that sounded legitimate this year.  But just when I thought I had made up my mind to do something else, I felt drawn to go. 

            Our friends wanted to go with us this year and the desire to share this sacred moment with them was leading us back on the path that was now lit by tiny votive candles. 

            It was supposed to be a silent service.  But we, as a society, find it so hard to sit still, so hard to unplug, so hard to quit whispering messages to the person next to us.   When the auditorium was almost full and we had just begun to settle in and try to still our thoughts, a cell phone began to ring in the row in front of us.  The man’s wife gave him that scolding look only a wife can give a husband.   He struggled to turn it off as it rang and rang and rang.  About five minutes later, her phone began to ring and there was no stopping the laughter that came from all those around them.

          Then the ping, ping, ping of nails hitting the floor seemed just as distracting, at first.  But then I started to wonder, did they drop the nails?  Nails EdgeDid the men who crucified Jesus drop any of the nails?  Were their hands shaking in anger?  Were they shaking in fear?  How must it have felt to place that sharp point on His most perfect and innocent flesh and then raise the hammer, make contact with the head of the nail and drive it into those loving, giving, accepting, amazing, most beautiful hands?

          Our choir sang in Latin with an English translation on the large video screen.  It was amazing.  We silently read the last seven sayings of our Lord and Savior before He willingly gave up His spirit.  Tears were flowing throughout the darkened church as we each stood and walked toward the old wooden cross.  There, just beyond the altar, we each nailed our sins to the cross.  It is always the hammering that makes it almost unbearable.  Our son said he imagined the sound to be steady beats from a drum as he tried to contain his emotions while stepping forward to accept his part in the process.  No matter how many times you have heard hammering, you have not heard it like this.  It feels like the floor is moving, with our hearts pounding, and our hands shaking.  No matter how many times you participate, it feels much the same.  My sin, my shame, my fears, my failures, held Him there on that cross.

          Oh the sweet relief of communion.  The hammering finally subsided.  We ate the bread of life and drank from the fruit of the vine and it was over.  It was finished.  It was done.  He is alive.  Resurrected in all His glory and sitting at the right hand of our God.  Our debt PAID IN FULL!  Our lives begin again.  We are renewed.

          As we walk toward our cars, our friend says she has never gotten more out of an Easter service in her entire life.  We smile.  I joke that no matter how it made us feel, I will walk right out that door and sin again.  They double-check to make sure I’m not planning to sin anytime soon.  And I’m not.  But I know I will, probably even before the night is over.  He knows I will.  He knows me.  But He came to save me.  And He will save you too.   He can even save the men who crucified Him.  Did they believe in Him before their wretched job was over?  Did the earthquake, the sun going dark, the dividing curtain of the Temple ripping apart, convince them that He was and is in fact the Son of God?  Did they have extra nails?  Did they drop the nails?

Nails Edge

And Jesus said to the thief on the cross, the one who believed in him at the last-minute,the one who had sinned up until that very moment,

 “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Happy 1          The old woman’s face was bandaged, her ruby-red lipstick spread haphazardly across her lips, her hair a bit disheveled from whatever medical procedure she had just encountered and yet her eyes were active and animated.  Her laughter was contagious and her offers of hospitality wildly amusing.  Seven fellow passengers had gathered around her in the hospital elevator, and as the doors began to close, she extended an invitation for anyone who needed more room, to sit down with her.

          Everyone laughed.  And no one felt sorry for her.  Instead, we all walked away lighter, happier, more hopeful than whatever distraction had captured our minds before we met in that little cage of steel descending five short stories to the ground Happy 4floor. As we each slipped through the automatic outside doors, the sun was shining, we were all still smiling, and at that moment we were reminded that happiness is a choice.

           

          The young girl came to our attention because of some trouble at school between her and my son.  The “mama bear” in me was not amused and I began to instruct my child on exactly how he should handle this little situation.  Then, I started to wonder about her and what might be happening at her house.  What I found out clearly changed my assessment of the situation.

          Seven months ago, she watched as her mother died from a brain tumor.  Her grief-stricken father quickly remarried and brought his new wife with her two young children into their home.  Just as quickly, they decided to sell the house and move to a new city. So, now her mother is gone, she’s in a new house with a new family, a new school, she has no friends, she’s hurt, she’s scared and she’s confused. 

          In the world of 15-year-old boys and girls, this might have seemed a bit radical and weird, Happy 6but a family horseback-riding trip seemed to be a simple solution to the current conflicts.  It was in her words, “A little awkward.”  But, by the end of the day, with the help of two aging horses named Tinker and Lucky, she felt different.  “I’ve had SO much fun! The horses have made me forget all the sad stuff.”

          We talked about her choices, about what her mother would want her to do, how she will probably have to wake up tomorrow and the next day and every day for the rest of her life and make a choice again.  But she can still be happy.  It’s okay for her to be happy.Happy 7

          God sees her.  He sees the elderly woman in the elevator.  And He sees us.  

 

         The blessings were  beyond measure recently when I was witness to the first encounter between a ten-year-old girl, who was born blind, and a small herd of horses.  As she approached the barn, feeling her way with a telescopic cane and following the verbal instructions of her teacher, I saw something only God truly understands.  The horses stood still, patient and waiting.  It was hot, they were tied in several locations, and yet they all just stood still.  She touched one and then the other, feeling their manes, ears and tails.  It took a bit of courage but she got up to ride and “happiness” was something we could all see. 

Happy 8

  “This is the day the Lord has made,

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

 “It’s not what happens to us in life,but how we respond to it that really matters.”

 

How are you responding when pressed on every side?  

Are you choosing happiness or letting someone or some thing steal your joy?

Today is your day.  God has given you free will.  

You have a choice.  Are you happy?  Do you know it?

Does your face surely show it?  (Okay, I couldn’t resist…I had many years of Vacation Bible School) 🙂  

Where ever you are, whatever you are doing,

I pray for you a happy and joyful day today!

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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