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Sometimes you can’t go forward until you look back.

In fact, I think maybe that’s what holds a lot of people hostage: the fact that they can’t or won’t deal with what’s happened in their past.

A lot of what makes us who we are is the ugly, traumatic parts of our lives. And try as we might, we are hardwired with all of it: the good, and the worst.

Some people just suppress. Suppress and bury it, deeper and deeper. But those things cannot and will not be ignored forever. They will eventually surface whether through our own coaxing or through another trigger that can send us spiraling into a dark, scary place.

Three years ago, my mother and I had a bad wreck. Out of nowhere, on the way to the first of Holy Week services, we were suddenly on the side of the highway in a crumpled car and waiting for an ambulance. 

I will never, never forget the sound of the impact nor the look of pain on my mom’s face. The fear in the eyes of the other driver when he came to check on us. The compassion in the eyes of the church member who came to see about us at the scene.

I will never forget the burn of the airbag or the smell of the smoke that came out of it. I will never forget the frustration mixed with fear and thankfulness and all of the mixed emotions that I dealt with in the days and weeks that followed.

I drive a lot. Every day. Hundreds of miles a week. But there’s not a time that I pass that intersection that I don’t remember wrecking there.

But I also remember all the places I went in that car. All the memories we made. All the miles we traveled. I remember the wreck. And I remember healing from it. 

That’s how it is in life too. You have the before moments, the traumatic moments, and the after moments. And they all impact each other. 

And Holy Week….well, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on that.

Christ came. He lived, he taught, he healed, he loved. And then he experienced a painful, agonizing, traumatic death. And then he rose. He overcame. 

But we cannot bask in a resurrection if there is no ugliness before it. We need to remember. We need to place ourselves there, observe the brutality and the pain and the brokeness. 

As Maundy Thursday ends, Good Friday begins. The darkness is beginning to settle. The remembrance becomes heavy upon those of us who have traveled the Lenten road these 40 days. 

It may seem strange to find a Divine meaning in something as…..earthly as wrecking a modern vehicle on a paved highway. But as I thought about it, the profoundness of it gripped me today. 

Christ and his followers were traveling along, then suddenly halted by their worst nightmare. 

And we have to revisit that nightmare to appreciate the dawn that is reborn every Easter season. 

“for the remembrance”. 

Remember. Painful as it may be. Remember. Go there. Feel it. Know it. Grasp hold of the pain. 

Remember the wrecks of your own life. Embrace them. Nail them to the cross with Christ. And watch what happens next.