Waiting and Hoping

This coming Friday is observed as the Friday of Sorrows (el viernes de dolores) here in Spain and heralds the start of Holy Week. It invites us, before we get caught up in the story of the final days of Jesus’s earthly ministry, his death and resurrection, to pause and consider the person most profoundly affected by those events - Mary, his mother, personified in Our Lady of the Sorrows. It is also the day when all those women in the village called Dolores - or Loli - celebrate their saint’s day. So here it combines a day of solemnity with a day of celebration. The big question is what kind of weather we will experience. A memory that always springs immediately to mind for me is standing in the plaza in front of the church under a clear blue sky with the warm sun on my body and having the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as the statue of the Risen Christ is borne out of the church on the shoulders of a dozen men, and at the same moment that band striking up with a fanfare. On the other hand, if I reflect a little longer, I remember that most years at least one procession has to be cancelled or abandoned on account of the heavy rain or the howling gales. The weather forecast covering the next two weeks is no great help; temperatures will be yo-yoing and there will be some dry and some wet days, so we keep our fingers crossed.

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