A Good Friday
When I was younger I always pondered why the Friday before Easter was called, “Good Friday.” It’s a somber day. One of reflection. After all, Jesus died a bloody death, ridiculed by the very people He came to save. I know that His death needed to happen and that in of itself was “good,” but it just never felt right to call it that. I would have called it, “Dark Friday.” It’s a day of mourning, deep reflection, and confession.
But now, my whole heart understands and longs for “Good Friday.” This year, I finally get it.
It IS a day of remembrance.
On this day, two years ago, our home community lost its leader, Terry Shoman. He died unexpectedly, at the age of 52. The shock, devastation, and grief knocked a hole through my heart and even as I write this, I have tears streaming down my face. I know a remnant of that hole will always be there. But I’m realizing this is what happens when you lose someone in your life. They take a piece of your heart with them. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t heal. He does. In miraculous ways. It just means that person was so special they can’t be replaced by something or someone else. So you learn to live with a heart that is marked.
But those marks are special. They are beautiful. It means that a person had an impact on your life and for this reason, I am thankful for those marks, even though they hurt sometimes.
When Jared and I first started attending Imago Dei, we took a Financial Peace University class. It was led by this guy named, Terry Shoman, who talked about freedom, generosity, and Christ in a way that caused joyous tears to shine in his eyes. Here was a man whose whole heart belonged to Christ in a way I hadn’t yet witnessed. And I remember being amazed by that.
Fast forward a year and half later. Jared and I decided we needed to investigate joining a home community, so we picked the one closest to our house. As we pulled up to the house on SE 92nd St, and walked up those front steps, I was nervous. So nervous. I’m not very good at meeting new people and I didn’t know what to expect. We knocked and the door was opened by the guy from Financial Peace University, the one with the great laugh, and I knew, just KNEW with my WHOLE HEART that everything was going to be okay.
And it was. He welcomed us into his home with a great big hug and we never left. We went on to become co-leaders of that home community and two years after his death, our group is still meeting. We tell every new visitor about Terry. I strongly believe our group is a legacy of Terry and his beautiful wife, Shari. It was (and is) their conviction to live out their faith authentically that fosters our community now. I know those buzz words, “community” and “authenticity” get tossed around in Christian social circles like an overused marketing tool. But please believe me, when you actually experience the real thing, it changes your life and your relationship with God. I’m a changed person not because I knew Terry. I am a changed person because Terry allowed Christ to shine in every aspect of his life.
And this year, on the anniversary of his death, I find that the hole in my heart isn’t filling with grief. It’s filled with joy for the time we did have with him. It’s filled with awe as I watch his wife, Shari, continue to live out her husband’s legacy with strength and love. It’s filled with thanksgiving for a very dear friendship with his daughter, Jesse, whom I never would have known if she hadn’t moved back home after he died. It’s filled with encouragement from his son, Isaac, who reminds us all to continually cling to Christ’s promise that we will see Terry again. It’s filled with the desire to live and love generously, like Terry did. It’s filled with desire to welcome new people into my own home each week, just as Terry and Shari welcomed us. And last night, as our home community gathered in that familiar living room on SE 92nd, I was filled with thankfulness. Life goes on, and while it’s hard at times, I am utterly convinced that Christ’s death & resurrection is the very thing that gives life to us, both here now and in eternity. It fills the hole in my heart with hope. And it makes me smile and cry happy tears.
And suddenly, my “Dark Friday,” turns into “Good Friday.”