I stayed in the “garden” until almost 3am last night. My throat still tastes like the smoke from my fire. My head burns from a lack of sleep and emotion. Somehow, I feel like this is the appropriate hangover that surely accompanied the reality of the morning. When I woke after just 4 hours of sleep, I wanted to turn back over and sleep. My body was exhausted, and yet I knew what today brought.
For many years, the Stations of the Cross have been my literal guide to Friday. Walking the steps of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem is one of my greatest memories from my time in Israel. But before I stood in the streets of the story, I permanently linked my flesh to this journey. In 2012, I joined a group of friends to tell this story on our skin. Each choosing an image that depicted the station to which our heart was tied, we tattooed the stations on our skin. I chose the 10th station. This is the moment that Jesus was stripped of his clothing just before he was nailed to the cross. It is the moment of absolute humiliation. It is the moment that Jesus was completely defenseless. He is stripped bare. His humanity and vulnerability is on display for all to see.
These are the scariest and most raw moments in my life. The times when I have no guard or place to hide. I also know that the moments when I allow people to see me in the raw are the very moments that I grow. I fall and bleed, but I grow. I hate these moments. And yet I know this is where the growth comes from. Until sunrise on Sunday, I sit in this space. I commit to allowing the presence of darkness and the raw grief of death to transform me. I will not skip over the waiting. I will not. I will not. The tear in my dead stump is my icon for these hours. I wait.