Yesterday I was talking with a friend on Twitter about childhood memories of Holy Week, especially during Good Fridays. It all started with a complain about how Holy Week is always the hottest time of the year, going on to reasons like God was prolly mad at the human race for killing His Son, and He was giving us a teaser of what our eternal life would be like if we don’t go back to Team God. Usually it was the parents who tell these to their kids, in order to behave. My mama would tell me that we should be quiet because Jesus is dead.
Holy Week (or known as Semana Santa here in our country) is not only the hottest time of the year, but also the most boring one. Especially during days way back when there is no Internet, no 24/7 stores, no iPod, no mall hours, no DVDs, no portable games. Thinking about that, I wonder how did I survived, haha! There is TV, but all the good shows are “off air” and they were showing these boring religious shows. (I am going to be really excommunicated for writing this, haha, but I am just telling the contents of my childhood heart back then.) Well, there were cute religious cartoons like Flying House and Super Book, but come Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, you can only see black and white static on your TV screen.
What I really hated most during Holy Week was the Good Friday church service. Lord, forbid me, but it was not a very enjoyable experience for me as a kid. We usually went to church to hear the Siete Palabras (or the Last Seven Words of Jesus). Gawd, that was such a torture, especially for a hyper seven year old kid like me. The Good Friday service started at 2PM. Yes, 2PM! Imagine that, the hottest time of the day during the hottest week of the hottest holiday. That was also my nap time, so I was all groggy and moody and sleepy and just totally not in the mood for something holy. (Lord, please let me finish this piece then I will ask you all the forgiveness that I need. I just have to let this out.) My sister and I were cranky kids while on our way to church. Here’s more, my mama would make us wear a dress because it was a formal service. A dress, with matching stockings and Mary Janes. As much as the seven year old me wanted to wear cotton tshirts, shorts/jeans and rubber shoes or sandals, it was a no no. Mama would not want that. I had no choice. Spell UNCOMFORTABLE.
At church, the elders would each say a sermon about the Siete Palabras. Meaning I have to listen to all seven sermons the whole afternoon, you know how old people are, and I had observed that the length of the sermon is directly proportional to the age of the person delivering it. The older the speaker, the longer the sermon goes. I cannot forget Lolo Albino☨(God bless his soul) whose prayer lasted for 15 minutes. And he was about to speak too, argh! I was totally restless. I kept fidgeting on my seat (or should I say “stand”, coz we were standing during prayers) and my mama kept on flicking me with her finger or gave me her peripheral death glares. WHAT?! You don’t expect full attention and behavedness from a hyper short-attention spanned kid.
When I got sleepy, I can’t even lean on my mama’s shoulder. She expected me to sit straight, kept an open eye, listen to the boring sermons on a hot Good Friday afternoon. Torture was it. I was forced on my seat to sit and yawn 5 billion times until the service was over. Usually it lasted for 3 hours. Three hours of child torture. I cannot even go out and play. I felt I was being crucified too, for making me act like an adult. If I know, the other adults in that service were bored to death too.
I think Good Fridays traumatised me for life. As a kid, I saw nothing good during Good Fridays.
But of course, it is different now. Growing up, I understand what Good Fridays are all about – how Jesus, the Son of the Living God – gave His life for us so that we may live with Him. Indeed, it is a GOOD FRIDAY.