Didn’t most of us, as children, wonder why in the world a terrible Friday (that symbolizes betrayal, lies, pain, anguish, sorrow and death to Jesus Christ) was known as ” Good” Friday?
Over the years… I have heard many beautiful sermons about ” Good” Friday and its importance in the story segments leading us to Easter and the Resurrection-the beginning of new life and a different view of death. ( When the Good News actually became ” gooder.” )
Every Easter Sunday as I listened to the myriad of emotions the ” Mary’s” encounter on their way to Jesus’ tomb I find myself imagining all their initial fears and doubts… replaced by a new inner strength and knowledge they didn’t have before.
A few weeks ago… I watched the latest version of the true classic story-Cheaper by the Dozen-a new Disney Movie. It was certainly entertaining to my grandchildren who had never heard or seen the real story or even the earlier Steve Martin version. But it actually had no resemblance to the original .
One of the reasons I still enjoy the book and original movie-( Cheaper by the Dozen) is that the author, Frank Gilbreth, Jr. was somewhat of a local celebrity in Charleston since he lived here post WWII. He wrote for the Charleston Post & Courier for many decades until his death… he used the pen name Ashley Cooper ( famous founder in the area) -his highly popular columns were sharp, witty and entertained Lowcountry readers for decades.
He also wrote the original book Cheaper by the Dozen and told the story of growing up ( as the oldest son) in a family of twelve children. When I taught the twenties to my eighth graders I always ended the unit with that showing on an old 16 mm projector movie… and the students loved it! It was uproariously fun and sad… and every year they clapped at the end. ( many students admitted they wished they could grow up in a family that closely connected. )
But it was the sequel to Cheaper by the Dizen ( Belles on their Toes) that connects me to Easter Sunday and the empty tomb.
At the end of Cheaper by the Dozen the father dies from a sudden heart attack… the heart and soul of the family. The sequel (Belles on their Toes) tells how their mother now took up the cross to raise the whole dozen single-handedly.
In one poignant observation Frank Jr said he and all his siblings watched their mother undergo an amazing metamorphosis! Before his father died their mother would often hide in the closet ( terrified) by thunderstorms! If a meal went awry she would leave the table and they could hear her crying in the bedroom. Any children’s accidents had her visibly shaken. Now that woman was gone… and one day Frank Jr asked her about this ” new mother ” who stood boldly before them.
She told him that one day he would understand-her greatest fear in life was losing the person she adored and admired the most-their father. And then it happened… exactly as she feared. There was nothing left in the universe that could ever scare her again- because those fears… thunderstorms, spilt milk, accidents, etc. would never come close to this one loss.
By 1948 Lillian Gilbreth had taken up her husband’s’s company in time management-she was running the company-traveled the world , taught collegiate classes in time management and raised her family.. never looking behind. She was named Woman of the Year in 1948.
I can’t help but think that the same metamorphosis-over time-changed all those who loved and adored Jesus. Fear was replaced with courage, determination and a new way of appreciating the here and now with an added bonus of the promise of an everlasting. The catalyst-Good Friday… love and forgiveness.
So until tomorrow …when your worst fear is realized… dig deep… you will find another layer of yourself you never knew existed. Fear is gone … hope is alive and waiting on you… with a bright light!!! Good Friday.
Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh