The Long Day’s Journey

| April 11, 2020

That moment between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is the long day’s journey of Holy Saturday.

In his remarkable, yet impossibly complex, book, Real PresencesGeorge Steiner describes this significance in a way that still resonates.

There is one particular day in Western history about which neither historical record nor myth nor Scripture make report. It is a Saturday. . . Ours is the long day’s journey of the Saturday. Between suffer­ing, aloneness, unutterable waste on the one hand and the dream of liberation, of rebirth on the other.

Holy Saturday, in other words, is a day in which we find ourselves paused. It is a day of waiting, looking back on something that we have lost and looking forward to something that is still just beyond the horizon.

Walking through an empty campus this week, I was reminded that we all lost something. Some more than others. Some far more than others. That connection to a space that feels like home; that connection to each other and the memories that would have been ours to cherish for years to come; that connection to life’s transitions and the milestones that we so wanted to celebrate; that connection to a world beyond our front door. And even if we speak, write and tweet in hope about schools reopening and being better than ever before, these visions of the future are still dreamlike and intangible; still threatened by the dark shadow of economic realities and “second waves”.

Holy Saturday is traditionally a day of silence; it is a moment to pause.

But it doesn’t mean nothing is happening. According to Steiner, quite the contrary: this “Saturday living” is precisely the moment in which poetry and music occurs. Out of what he describes as this “immensity of waiting” a creative fire is sparked and we collectively reach towards a better future.

Perhaps that is why, as I look around at everything people are doing, writing about, creating, imagining, I find myself convinced that tomorrow will be a better day.

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