Silence: Psalm 131
“I have stilled my soul…within me.” –Psalm 131
Holy Saturday has always been a strange day for me. The rest of Holy Week is like a symphonic swell leading up to the final movement, then, on Saturday, there is a pregnant pause. Utter silence. A silence that seems to stretch on forever.
Did Jesus really just die? Is he really gone? The Apostles and Mary must have been in shock. Their heads must have been swimming from the speed of the past two days. Their lives went from normal to chaotic in a period of hours. The culmination of this chaos was losing their leader, best friend, and Son.
Almost four years ago my wife and I were preparing for the birth of our first child. Everything was going normal for a natural birth. Sometime midway through the process, my wife was administered some medicine to help with her nausea. It was the wrong medication. Immediately her blood pressure skyrocketed dangerously high and her uterus clamped down on our baby, still in her womb.
What began as a normal procedural delivery took a turn for the worst. Sparing the details, the Doctor told me that the lives of both my wife and child were in danger and he had to take them for an emergency c- section. I could not go. There was no time to think or react. The doctor, nurses, my wife and our child all disappeared out the door and I had no idea if I would ever meet my child or see my wife again.
There was no one left. Just an empty room. What did I do now? I tried to pray, but my mind was spinning. I waited in silence. Jesus, I trust in you… There is nothing comforting in silence. Not just verbal silence, but a numbness which encompasses your being. Where can you turn when all seems hopeless?
“Give me death, give me life;
Health or sickness,
Honor or shame,
War or swelling peace,
Weakness or full strength,
YES, to these I say,
What do you want of me?”
–St. Teresa of Avila Hands of God—
I just want to know! I am dying in this not knowing. What is to be accomplished by waiting longer? As a man I want to be strong. As a husband and father I want to keep my family safe. In this time I was unable to do either. Brokenness. Helplessness. Our Savior asks me on the Cross: “Can you drink of this same cup?”
Silence means waiting. Lord, just let me know! Jesus, I trust in you…
The silence is broken.
After a seeming eternity the doctor returned. My wife was fine and recovering, but my son was not breathing when he was delivered. He was stable for now but had to be transferred to the NICU in another city for care.
There is hope. Throughout the following weeks, my wife and I were carried by the prayers of others. Each day looking more hopeful than the last. Jesus, I trust in you…
The silence of Holy Saturday might seem to last forever but there is a glimmer of hope. A remembrance of words and promises. Of Life. This hope seems vague. We can’t see it fully yet. So for now we wait. Jesus, I trust in you…