I’ve always thought “Holy Week” was a bit of a misnomer. After Palm Sunday, there isn’t much going on until Maundy Thursday arrives with its foot washings and often a Passover Seder (whether or not it’s actually Passover on the calendar) commemorating the final meal Jesus shared with His disciples. Perhaps “Holy Half-Week” would be more accurate, since Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are pretty uneventful.
Not this year.
Yesterday afternoon I went out to our mail closet (truly; a door in the side of the house opens to reveal shelves where the mail is placed) expecting the usual assortment of bills and junk mail. What I found on our shelf was an extra-large padded envelope that took up the entire shelf. I saw the name of the sender and remembered how that friend had asked for my mailing address quite awhile ago; at the time I thought a card or invitation to something might be on the way. I got busy with school and everything else going on in life and forgot all about it. You can imagine how my jaw hit the floor when I unwrapped this:
Tucked in with the gift was a card in which my friend wrote how the Lord had told her to make the journal, even waking her up in the night to tell her what it was to look like. She lovingly explained what each symbol meant. I was speechless.
I still am.
Words hardly seem adequate to convey what I am feeling. But I’m going to try, albeit feebly, to express what’s in my heart because while this gift is specific to me, I believe there is a greater message I’m to share:
That’s what keeps welling up in my heart as I read and re- and re- and re-read the card, and keep looking at all the details on the journal, touching the textures, trying to soak it all in. Not just what is in front of me, but all that is behind what my eyes are seeing — the heart of a woman who listens for her Shepherd’s voice and who spends time, energy, resources, whatever it takes, to obey what she hears; the listening, planning, choosing, praying, painting, printing, gluing…all out of obedience, trusting the work of her hands would convey the heart of God to a friend far away.
And it did. It does.
GOD SEES ME.
He used a friend — and one with whom I haven’t had much contact recently — to convey His heart, His eyes, His love to me.
And to you.
As I hold this treasure, I feel my heart beating wildly with the heartbeat of the Father who longs for you to know that He sees. He cares. He knows. He hears. He weeps. He rejoices. He is for you. And with you. Always. In the silence and the noise. In the pain, the questions, and confusion. In the laughter and the tears. Whether you’re alone or in a crowd. Or healthy or ill. When dreams come true or are dashed in disappointment.
The day after Palm Sunday now has a new name — Hagar Monday; for Hagar was the one who proclaimed in Genesis 16, “You are the God who sees me.”
I pray we all move toward Easter knowing this more deeply.
And whisper thanks for my faithful friend.