March 25, 2024

In the Waiting: Holy Saturday

By Hannah Sedlacek
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Ever since I have understood the significance, I have always loved Holy Week. It’s a week full of storytelling, raw and fluctuating emotion, honesty about true suffering and oppression, and a visual of redemption and restoration. There’s one day of Holy Week that has always resonated with me more than others, and it’s not one I hear talked about often. It’s referred to as Holy Saturday. I often refer to it as “the day of waiting” and I think it has deep significance when it comes to the therapy room.

What is Holy Week?

For context, the Christian tradition of Holy Week takes us through a progression of Jesus’ redemption story. Palm Sunday represents Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a moment of celebration and acknowledgment of Jesus as King. Maundy Thursday turns somber as Jesus washes his disciples feet, shares with them in Passover (the Last Supper), and prepares them that he will fulfill the meaning of Passover – body broken, blood shed. Good Friday takes us into darkness as Jesus is crucified, died, and buried. And this all brings us to my favorite day of Holy Week, that “day of waiting” – Holy Saturday.

Holy Saturday – The Day of Waiting

It’s Holy Saturday. We have left Good Friday in darkness, and we are still in darkness. There is no light. There is only silence. In this original pause between death and life, the disciples felt anxious and defeated, wondering what came next. Their savior, their friend, had left them.

There’s a famous Easter meditation by S.M. Lockridge (1913-2000) called “It’s Friday–But Sunday’s Comin’”. He gives a very passionate and compelling Friday to Sunday narrative, reminding us that death does not have the last word. And this is often the Easter narrative – Friday to Sunday. Jesus died and was resurrected. I know everyone loves this meditation and it is powerful in its own moment, but I don’t know about Sunday yet. I don’t know about the resurrection yet. I’m still in Saturday. I want to sit in Saturday. I need to sit in Saturday.

Holy Saturday in Therapy

In the therapy room, we are oh-so-often sitting in Holy Saturday moments – in the in-between and the waiting. Maybe you’re waiting for a breakthrough. Maybe you’re waiting for a relationship to change, anxiety to let up, trauma experiences to float away. Maybe you’re waiting for a baby or for a partner. Maybe you’re grieving a loss or navigating an illness where you’re not sure what happens next. We all live in Holy Saturday moments, waiting in darkness with anxiety about what is to come.

Holy Saturday provides space to sit in the darkness, in our big feelings, in our grief. It represents the time it takes to process grief, acknowledge loss, mourn the life we thought we would have or the deafening silence that has come that we don’t know how to get out of. It is sitting and it is waiting. Honestly, often without answers or direction. Just like the disciples.

Embracing the Silence of Holy Saturday

Maybe this Holy Week, you consider Holy Saturday a little differently. Maybe you sit with your feelings and grief. Maybe you embrace the silence. Maybe you consider spaces in your life where you are waiting for breakthrough. Maybe you even find a little hope.

If you are in a Holy Saturday moment, you are not alone. I honestly think this is often where the beauty sits – in the in-between. Holy Saturday moments are part of the human experience and truly we, as therapists, want to sit in those moments with you. You are not alone in your waiting, in your anxiety, in your depression, in your grief, in your wondering of what comes next. Holy Saturday moments are often what bring people into the therapy space, and we are here for it. If you find yourself in a season of waiting and darkness, please reach out! And this Holy Week, consider embracing the in-between and, in that, allowing Sunday to be so much more powerful.

Written By

Hannah Sedlacek

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