As I write this, I am waiting.
Last Sunday, a close friend attempted suicide by drug overdose. Now, she’s in a coma, with only her family allowed to see her. A network of friends hovers on the edge, waiting. Waiting to see if she’ll come out. Waiting to see if she’ll be the same person if she does. Waiting to know who will care for her son. Wondering whether we did enough to care for her.
A year ago, she checked herself in for treatment to keep from attempting to take her life. I learned of it on Easter weekend. Now, I try to make sense of everything as another Easter waits around the corner. There’s a part of me that almost “enjoys” the solemnity of Lent, the discipline, the purification. The darkness. Yet, this comes as a painful reminder that for some of us, the darkness isn’t metaphorical. For some of us, it’s real.
I want to tell her that we’re almost out of the darkness. That hope will come if she just holds on a little longer. That’s what I’m holding on to, as I face the possibility of losing a friend for the first time in my life. The agony of waiting Jesus’ family and friends must have felt as his execution approached is hitting home with me. Not for the first time, I wonder, How could they bear it? I’m with them as I endure the pain of uncertainty, the hope-against-hope that this story can somehow have a different ending. But I know I’m not writing this story.
Metaphorical darkness is reflective, healing, contemplative. But real darkness is heavy and isolating, sometimes too complete to offer the glimmer of hope we all want to believe is there. In these final weeks of Lent, I wonder what else we can do as Christians to ensure that those in real darkness will make it to the other side.