Though I have always loved it, the meaning of Easter just never hit home for me until the Easter of 2014, just a month and a half after they died. I remember being in church, listening to all the lessons and testimonies of the Savior and his Atonement, tears streaming down my eyes, trying to hide my sniffles and still my shoulders. I was broken. I was still in pieces. But those testimonies lifted my soul that day, reminding me that there was still a hope to come.
That day I realized Easter is my new favorite holiday, because it is more than just a holiday. It is what I believe to be the most important event that ever happened in the history of the world; when every bad thing that had ever happened or ever would happen was made up for, when every mistake became forgivable, when every soul had the ability to hope.
Like everyone else, I’ve been reflecting a lot about the Atonement this week. Last night, I could not sleep. My mind was running, I was tossing and turning, walking about the house, trying to make myself tired. It wasn’t working, so I decided to listen to the scriptures. I read in Matthew and read about the institution of the first sacrament, the suffering in Gethsemane, the mocking and scourging, the crown of thorns on his head, the purple robe upon his shoulders, the whipping scars on his back, the nails in his wrists, hands, and feet, his final utterance. Friday.
I read about the women at the sepulcher, the angels guarding it, the apostles seeing Christ, His last few days on Earth before he ascended to Heaven. Sunday.
But what about Saturday? What happened Saturday?
I searched and read. I read all the 4 gospels. I couldn’t find anything about Saturday except for the fact that the chief priest demanded that guards be set about the tomb to ensure that nobody steal Christ’s body and claim he was risen. Nothing much is said about the disciples, what they did or what they thought.
I think when we think about the Atonement, it’s easy to remember the Friday because things that needed to happen were still so awful. We think about all the Savior went through for us. We are in awe that he would suffer so much for us because he loves us so much. Sunday is easy to talk about because that’s when the glorious resurrection happened, when He overcame death and His work was finished, and we know that we will also resurrect.
But what about Saturday??
My parents, Keegan, and Liam were all buried on a Friday. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experience, and I daresay ever will experience. Friday was packed with so many events, so many people, and though it is nothing compared to Christ’s last Friday, it was my own “last Friday,” the hardest Friday I ever had to live through. From closing their caskets for the final time, to the military gunshot blown at the cemetery, my body was there but my mind was elsewhere. It was all surreal.
The following Saturday was the strangest Saturday. I did not know why things happened, where I was going to go, what we as a family were going to do. Saturday, I realized that the hard part was over, and there were no more schedules, no more things to do. Now, I had to start getting on my feet. Once again, I felt I was in limbo.
I can only speak for myself, but I wonder if it was similar for Christ’s disciples; those thoughts of “What do we do now?” “Where do we go?” “How do we go on?”
I heard someone say recently something that really stuck my heart. It was a woman at a conference that I was blessed to speak at and be a part of. She quoted her son, “Everyone has a 10 to overcome.” Sometimes, we get hit with a “Friday,” where we hit a 10 on our level of hardship and the trial is unbearable, when the struggle is so unreal it becomes an out-of-body- experience. And then, when the event is over, our life transition into a “Saturday.”
I am still in the “Saturday” of my life.
Life is more often than not like those “Saturdays.” When something hard happens, after we have reached our 10, and we can’t go on, and we don’t know how to go on even though we know we are supposed to. Sometimes, between the trial and the triumph, we are in limbo, and it is during those “Saturdays” that is where our true nature is put to the test; do we doubt, or do we go forward with faith? Some days are more hopeful than other days, and some are more doubtful. Sometimes we go along our way fine, and sometimes we fall and cry.
But the beautiful things about Fridays and Saturdays is that they are always followed by Sundays. Christ appeared to those who loved him most as a glorious being that following Sunday. He showed them that “[he had] overcome the world” (John 16:33). He showed he completed his work, and that this Sunday was the reason he had to experience his Friday and Saturday. “Sundays” are meant to overcome the hardships and mistakes of “Fridays” and “Saturdays.” We get to start over. We get to look forward to a new beginning.
I quote Jeffery R. Holland, a leader of the LDS church, where he says, “Easter Sunday always come after crucifixion Friday, never the other way around… Good things happen even after very, very difficult hours. You are evidence that happiness happens. The answer is through some suffering and some tears, but finally a victorious ending.”
Our “Fridays” will be hard, and our “Saturdays” may be filled with questions. And the beautiful thing about our “Sundays” is that everything will make sense. We will understand why everything happened the way they did, and the “Sundays” will make up for everything terrible that ever happened.
Easter is more than a holiday. It’s a life changing event. It is the reason we can get through our hard “Fridays,” our limbo “Saturdays,” and the reason to look forward to our blessed “Sundays.”