For years, when I was a teen, I struggled with the name of this day--"pretty bloody awful Friday, if you ask me," I would snark in my best sub-Wodehousian manner.
Then, after my college years, I had a spell of alienation from the Church (Roman) and had not yet found my spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. My twin and I even scheduled inadvertently scheduled a birthday party on Good Friday, having lost track of Easter.
Some years later, after my return to organized religion, as an Episcopalian, I hit bottom as an alcoholic. On Good Friday. On the day of our Lord's suffering for us, my own self-inflicted suffering reached its nadir. Good Friday has never been the same.
The difference was that, in my worst moments, God reached out to me again and again, and in the most unlikely ways--the Good Samaritan (an ex-convict, just out of prison, who walked me home, and thanked me for letting him help me), a good friend who bagged his plans for that Saturday night just to be with me, and so many others. (Hey, you want to her the full qualification, get to a meeting).
At the time, the irony seemed bitter--that I was such a drama addict that I had to stage my own collapse to last through Easter morning. In retrospect, though, I think it was entirely appropriate--I was past subtlety; I needed God to speak to me not with the "small, still voice" but fortissimo. Fortunately, He obliged.
So now Good Friday is inextricably linked for me with my own redemption not just in theology but in lived experience. I'm off to mark the occasion with the Liturgy of the Hours tonight, and then tomorrow I'll be at the Easter Vigil, where we celebrate our journey by God's Grace out of darkness into light.