We sleep in a windowless room. The light comes in through large gaps at the ceiling that open the bedroom up to the main room, with its huge east-facing window.
At night it is dark. He turns the clock face off. When I wake up in the night, my only clue to what time it is comes from the far wall opposite the ceiling gap.
If I wake up and it’s full dark, I know it’s too soon to get up. I try to go back to sleep. (Whether I succeed is a story for another day.)
If I wake up and there’s a band of pale light glowing through the ceiling gap, I know it’s growing light out.
If I wake up and there are bright medallions arrayed across the wall, I know the sun is fully up and splaying its light everywhere, flooding as much of itself as it can through the curtain rod holes.
This morning, Good Friday, I saw a light show I’ve never seen before. The pale band was out when I woke up, so I knew it was dawn. But then a little faint orange glimmer popped up in the corner, flickering exactly like a flame. Then four more. Five little candles dancing on the far wall. I lay in bed watching them as they grew in number until they shimmied across the whole wall. They changed with every moment, growing larger until they were full circles of orange flickering light, carved in lines by the horizontal blinds, and dancing with shadows of the leaves of the courtyard bushes they shone between.
Sooty black imprints undulating on dark-orange light prints.
Soon they began to descend, twenty sunsets, as the sun rose and the light cast lower and lower, until the ceiling gap no longer let them in.
That’s when I got up.
Christ’s life, a brief candle. Today we rehearse his death in a ritual of sadness. It’s a day for loss, scheduled on the calendar. We pretend to forget that he will rise on Sunday. That’s how rituals work. For today, we look no further than the grief we bear right now. We sit in it, something I do not know how to do. We sit in it and don’t try to fix it. We let it in and we let it be and we let it pass.