Good Friday. The day Christians around the world mark the death of the One equal with God, who died a horrific death on a cross so we might live with him forever.
John Witvilet says this about the day:
“Making peace through the blood of his cross” is like saying that a nuclear missile has become an olive-branch, that Guantanamo has become a garden of healing, that a sword has been turned into a plowshare, that a tank has been turned into a tractor. The very thought of it leaves us weak in the knees with astonishment. (“A Crescendo of Wonder,” Christianity Today)
Good Friday is only good because of what happens on Easter. Death is swallowed up in victory. Christ who died becomes Christ who is Risen so he can be Christ who comes again.
I’m not attending a Good Friday service this year. I planned to, but evidently God had other plans. On Wednesday afternoon, my brain tilted me into a “mixed state,” which is sort of all that I detest about depression mixed with all that I hate about mania. Despair. Agitation. Darkness. Blinding light. Lack of concentration. Hyper-sensitivity. All rolled up into one chaotic ball of jangled nerves. Mixed states are the most volatile for folks like me with bipolar. It is where most suicides occur.
Fortunately, I live where I live. Rochester, New York happens to be one of the most progressive cities on earth when it comes to mental health. Rather than go to a hospital emergency room that would be costly for my insurance, and even costlier on my psyche, I can go to Affinity Place, a respite/retreat house for persons with mental illness. Staffed by “peers” rather than “professionals,” it is a place where someone like me can come and receive a ministry of hospitality from those who may not have a professional degree, but they have an abundance of “lived experience.” They really do feel our pain.
Here at Affinity Place, we are guided our own care plans, ask for help where it is needed, stay and go as is best. We rest from a world making us crazier than we already are. There is no explicit religion espoused here, but I know the Holy Spirit prevails as we take stock of where we are, how we’ve gotten here, and where we are going. Or at least the next step.
As eager as I am to rejoin my faith community to celebrate Easter, I also know God has a plan for me here at Affinity Place. This Holy Week has been made more holy, this Good Friday is even better, and my new life will be even more abundant.