A Good Friday Poem

I’m going to be honest in a way that might make you squirm on the other side of your monitor.

Recently, it has come to my attention that I am angry at God.

After my dad passed away, I was wracked with grief. My naturally extroverted self sought the solace of solitude more often than ever before. Friday nights became a ritual of swimming laps and then heading home to bake. Hours would be spent in front of this screen, catching up on my television shows of the week and then reading food blogs until the early morning hours. My newfound insomnia when I spent too much time alone felt excessive, but then again so much about this first year has been pocked with excess in my grasp to survive it.

In my search for a grief support group, I found myself gratefully surrounded by others who had loved and lost. My Jewish grief support group taught me the term shiva and in the ritual and religion, built-in comfort for grieving. We lamented together. We read poetry. We lit candles and shared photographs and stories. We checked in weekly. They continue to be sources of light to me even though I have found myself at a fork in my journey.

A few weeks ago at church, Karl asked if I could write a poem or two to read during the Good Friday service. Poems have been hard to come by in this season. Writing about food, cooking food, baking has been a source of comfort and catharsis. Volunteering my time and expending myself in love and in memory of my dad has kept me pushing harder on myself than usual.

On this week where my friend makes charoset ice cream for a passover seder celebrated at his house, I prepare for the Easter weekend. I love the symbolism food plays in the seder and the joyful panoply of food offerings found at the Easter table.

But this kind of seems like I’m avoiding the main point. I can’t touch this anger, it sometimes reveals itself to me and those are the pinpoints of insight. This year, I have been more oft to say, “My need of God supercedes my anger at Him” and this is true.

I come to this weekend of Easter preparation a different person. A child considering the loss of a dad, considering Good Friday… differently.

We have three weeks before my dad’s one year anniversary, and I must admit I feel myself a wound, open to the elements. This weekend, I lament and rejoice. And tomorrow at a Good Friday service, I will read a poem about morning blues.

Morning Blues

Morning broke languid and slow across the horizon line,
an ochre haze hung low in the sky streaked blue.

The men of cloth met in a room sealed of sunlight to decide the fate of one

who claimed to be the man of God.

I stood among them quiet, questioning,
wanting to understand and be understood

even as the man in question
hung his head
even as the voices rose in pitch demanding judgement:

denouncing this “King of the Jews” in a land of Roman rule-

He answered my question with the answer in my mouth

He held His tongue in silence, listening the bloodlust circle.

This man, so different from the countless scores of men
brought before me waiting the judgement had no answer.

“See how many charges they bring against you.” The din
of other voices filling the void of His silence.

That silence

weighed heavy in my inner man- at last a man not claiming
innocence, letting the truth with its implications play out upon his back, one whip-strike after another.

This man that sealed my mouth like a tomb.

(Mark 15:1-5, 15)

-annelies zijderveld (c)

1 comment

  1. Anytime you would like to share stories about your father, I would love to hear them. I a fatherless child, going on year 12 and yet I fully still relate to the utter breaking of your heart.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your poem. Grief is such a process and each of us does it the best way we can. Blessings on you, today and everyday, my friend!

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