Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

by Kerry Blair

Every family should have a religious zealot. Ours was my Great Aunt Polly. While the rest of the family were the kind of Christians who went to church every other Easter—whether they needed religion or not—Aunt Polly read her Bible two hours every day and quoted from it the remaining twenty-two. (This is according to my grandmother who insisted that her youngest sister preached constantly, even in her sleep.) Fiery of hair and temperament, Aunt Polly was my idol. I was her only convert.

I had scarcely opened my eyes—the firstborn of my generation of cousins—when Aunt Polly set out to save my little soul. I knew “Jesus Loves Me” well before “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and pretty much believed that all nursery rhymes and fairy tales were about Jonah, David, Daniel, et al. Sitting on my bedside table this morning are a tattered cloth Baby’s First Bible, a well-worn edition of Bible Stories for Children, and a now-antique King James Bible that has every word spoken by Jesus printed in red. I’ve thumbed through each of them this week, studying and praying . . . and remembering Aunt Polly . . . in preparation for Easter.

Easter and Aunt Polly will always be inseparable in my mind. Nothing so thrills a girly-girl than donning a frilly dress, white gloves, shiny patent leather shoes, and a beribboned Easter bonnet.

I lived for Easter Sunday.

I hated Good Friday. I saw nothing “good” about it. Aunt Polly’s church held a service called “The Passion” that lasted from noon until three—the time that tradition says Christ spent on the cross. We wore somber colors, sat outdoors on cold, hard folding chairs before a huge wooden cross, and observed a seven-point service based on the phrases uttered by Jesus during his crucifixion. I usually misted up at 12:15, started crying before one, sobbed inconsolably by 2:30, and didn’t recover until sometime Saturday afternoon. If then.

Good Friday? Puh-leeze.

Age, education and a better understanding of the atonement have (thankfully) changed my perspective. It helped immensely to learn in my teens that Good Friday is likely a derivative of “God Friday” just as good-bye has evolved from “God be with you.” What changed my paradigm most, of course, was being taught the gospel—the good news—that Jesus lives and that what I learned as a toddler is infinitely true: He does love me. That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, atoned and died for us is something upon which to reflect every day—not just once a year.

Another thing I learned along the way is that “passion” and “patience” come from the same Latin root word and mean to suffer or endure. When the Christian world talks of the Passion of Christ, they recall the suffering He endured on the cross. But we recall this (and much more) every week as we take the sacrament. Then, in remembrance of that eternal-life altering event, we take upon us His name and promise to undertake our small measures of passion every day of our lives.

When we serve someone who is difficult to love, forgive someone we think is unworthy forgiveness, or endure discomfort rather than imposing it upon others, we are in small ways embracing the principle of the Passion. We can never bear—nor even understand—what Christ bore for us, but we can endure cheerfully what we must for Him.

Easter is still my favorite day of the year, but Good Friday isn’t far behind. It is a day to commemorate one like no other in human history—the day when Our Father gave His Only Son; a day when Our Eldest Brother gave His life (after giving His all) because He too, loves us and wants us to be with Him again: forever to live, and finally to understand.

Happy Easter!


At 4/10/2009 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your posts, Kerry. You’re the highlight of my week. I always laugh at your incomparable wit, but I always learn something, too. Thank you for sharing your Aunt Polly with us.

Happy Easter,


At 4/10/2009 3:35 PM, Blogger LexiconLuvr said...

Easter's my favorite holiday too. I never cared for the dresses much (I'm an incurable tom-boy) but the entire premise of Easter has always made my soul happy. Jesus risen, giant bunnies making baskets, hunting in the dirt for eggs and candy...who can't get behind that?
Confession: I could get into the dresses if society dressed like the ladies at Ascot. Hats and gorgeous swathes of fabric like that could convert any girl! (Historic Ascot, not modern Ascot.)

At 4/10/2009 3:47 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Thanks, Kerry. I loved your thoughts on Easter,perhaps because I share those feelings. I didn't have an Aunt Polly, but my mother did her best to instill in us her concept of Easter as a religious holiday, not a secular one.

At 4/10/2009 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Aunt Polly. And your Easter post.


At 4/10/2009 4:02 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Thanks, Deb! I hope you know how much you've brightened the blog in your always positive, uplifting comments.

Lex: Yes! I would love to dress that way. (Especially the hats.) Too bad we're not in the same ward, we could set a new trend! :)

Ly: My Aunt Polly would love you. More than anybody else I know, in fact. I plan to send you to convert her on the other side of the veil.

At 4/10/2009 4:26 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

Kerry, I already told you I have hats in my closet. And I love(d) the dresses. But even more than that I loved your post.

At 4/10/2009 6:07 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Another tear-jerking post, dear Kerry. Thank you for sharing Aunt Polly, your upbringing and your testimony with us.

At 4/11/2009 4:07 AM, Blogger Paige's Pages said...

As always, the post is wonderful! This really is the best holiday! Im with you on the dressing up thing. My mother used to take me and my sisters out to buy matching dresses, shoes and gloves and then she made us hats every year. Those are wonderful memories. :)

At 4/13/2009 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kerry, sorry this has nothing to do with your post, even though it was great just like all your others:). I just finished your book This Just In for the second(third) time, and I was wondering about that tip about the soft hair thing; Does it really work?
Happy -late- Easter!!!

At 4/13/2009 2:09 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Sandra: Don't think I've forgotten your hats. You promised to loan me one for the Whitney gala, remember? Hopefully you have something that goes with green.

Anny: Um...okay...true confession: I have no idea! Unlike Betsy and Josi who try out all their recipes for perfection, I tried out only two of my "helpful hints" -- and those because they involved cacti and I was curious. I scavaged those tips from the Internet so long ago I can't remember what I told you to try, even. All I can promise at this point is that it won't make your hair fall out. Probably. Godspeed. :)

Thanks so much for the comments. I hope everybody's Easter was at least half as joyous as Paige's! :)

At 4/15/2009 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I tried your tip last night with my nieces... and our hair hasn't fallen out yet but I can't tell if it's softer or not... we'll see what my nieces think. Anyway thanks, even if it doesn't work, it was a whole lot of fun; it's not every day my niece gets to put egg in my hair.:)


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