As a kid, I hated the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. I didn’t like that it was nameless. It was just Saturday. I didn’t know what to do with that. The Saturday between just felt like… a day. Like any other Saturday. Except it was burdened with the weight of being between a day of mourning and a day of celebration. You can’t just spend that day watching cartoons or cleaning your bedroom. It just felt wrong.
Without a label or a special title, I had no idea what to do with that in-between Saturday. Why be sad, when we know Jesus is coming back tomorrow morning?
As I got older, I started intentionally taking note of how people responded when their loved ones died. Many of them knew that even though their friends, family – brothers, sisters, dads and moms – were in a better place, they still cried. This pain still seemed strange to me. Why cry if you know they’re better off?
At some point it hit me: they weren’t crying for their loved ones, they were crying because of their own pain. Their loss. Their longing for answers. Mourning the end of something they held dear. The truth is, even if we know intellectually that we have hope, when we lose someone we love – we miss them. It stings like a open wound. Grief comes from knowing that we won’t be seeing them for a while. We can’t talk to them, hear them respond, or share their stories.
It’s as if we know, deep within us, that it isn’t supposed to be this way.
Giving grief the space it needs, and not ignoring it, is powerful. We want to be rid of pain but pain is a part of life. We don’t like being uncomfortable and will stop at nothing to find comfort.
Grief is about recognizing the gap, the space within ourselves that is broken by strain of being torn between life and death. Between the real that we know and the ideal that we long for.
It’s saying that there is pain and suffering in this life, no matter how much we try to avoid it.
The beautiful truth of the Gospels is that Jesus embraces that pain with us. He helps us carry it. He bears the weight of death, suffering the wounds this world gives us. The weight of frailty.
Ask anyone who has suffered deeply – being fired, losing your home, a critical illness, the death of a parent or a child – and they’ll tell you that you always feel a gradual isolation. You know that others people have survived these things before. But it doesn’t change the pain.
But when someone sits with you, cries with you, and simply says, “I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry”, you feel pulled together with them. Empathy – sharing the pain of another person – is like gravity. It pulls us together.
This is the power of In-Between Saturday. That in the grief between our Lord’s death and his rebirth, we can sit together and know we are not alone. We have hope – but we also morn. We embrace our suffering and let it drive us together.
So this Saturday, may you find the strength to sit in the discomfort. To feel it’s weight and it’s sorrow. To be honest with your longing.
And may it drive you to find other people. To sit. And share. And long for something better.
Because hope is coming. Even if it feels distant and far across the horizon.
Just hold on until then.