There is a nail in my coat pocket, which I turn around and around against my fingers and palm, from time to time pressing its thickness and point into my skin. Our priest speaks of grace and mercy, and all I can think is I am not worthy. All my time in the darkness, a part of me was waiting for my prodigal return, for God to carry me home. I rejoice that I came back to Christ...I can think of the years I was away as 'life experience', preparation, academic and practical, for ministering to people in the now.
But it still can feel such a waste, especially during a Holy Week service. A darkness I don't want to touch or even acknowledge, really.
Many good things happened to me without my realising Jesus was in my heart. Relationships, understanding, learning, seeing the wonder of God's world in different countries. Cooking, baking, making music. Making connections. But it was like this little impervious bubble, only able to let occasional bursts of God-light through a tough exterior.
And now it hurts to feel. I am encompassed by a sadness, I can feel the betrayal. I am guilty of turning my back on the one who brought me into existence, and who now sustains me.
But, after a dark and lengthy week, with altar stripped bare, nails contemplated, time at the foot of the cross and an impossible understanding of such pain, we will rejoice. We will rejoice in each day being a new day, in the forgiveness of sins, in the resurrection, in our humanness, in our reliance on the divine. Like Judas; like the other disciples who were His closest friends but stood by and watched, empty; like all the others who have gone before me into the darkness - I am mercifully loved, my transgressions accepted as part of me, my return to the fold a complete joy.
God doesn't sit there contemplating my past failures. I think it's enough to know what took place, and live in the now, for Him. There is too much to be done to take much longer pondering, although Holy Week is a fitting time for it. It's enough to realise that the pure joy, the mercy and the grace is what matters - not those years before the breakthrough of holy technicolour...