Thursday, April 05, 2007

Goodnight Beloved -- Dobranoc Kochanie!

Good Friday - the most solemn day in the Christian calendar. When I was a child, one of the hymns sung in Polish was titled "Dobranoc Kochanie" (pronounced - dough-BRAH-notes koh-HAHN-knee) which means "Goodnight, Beloved."

It was a song we sang to the crucified Christ as He was being taken to his tomb. After a service that included the Stations of the Cross and the reading of the Passion narrative, several strong men of the church would carry a large statue of Christ, dead, on a bier, around the church, followed by altar boys with little pillows on which rested the crown of thorns, the nails, the hammer.

For that one instant we were standing with the disciples watching the one we loved carried away. It was really sad. To this day I cannot hear that song without weeping. It captured all there is about grief -- saying goodbye to a loved one.

We were not saying goodnight to God. We were saying goodbye to our best and dearest friend. This was not a theoretical goodbye. It was deeply personal, felt as keenly as grief for one's earthly friend or family member. It was losing someone we knew, someone who knew and loved us. It was Mary and Joseph's son, the one who used to help his Dad make furniture. It was Jesus, the one all the stories were told about. Jesus, our friend who healed the sick, raised the dead, celebrated at our weddings with us, fed the hungry. It was the man we knew as a child. We knew him and his family. He was one of us. And he was killed.

There we stand, watching him being carried away from us for what feels like forever.

And it hurts.

I miss some parts of the dramatic and graphic nature of Eastern European pre-Vatican worship. To this day I could not choose a picture of Christ crucified or being deposed from the cross to put here. It just plain hurts to look at them today.

I will find some solemnity in this day, and will be quiet, and will recall the memories of Good Fridays long ago in a small church, the smell of incense hanging in the air, the sound of silver bells being rung in the far background. I will see the big Polish men with serious faces carrying our best and most beloved friend to his grave.

And I will once again hear the voices of the choir singing Dobranoc Kochanie.

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Blogger Jayne said...

With everything going on in my world as of late, I have not really been in the "mindset" of this season. Your post helped me regroup and be more present for today. Thank you dear friend.

8:03 AM  

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