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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Suffering and The Cross

Christ has challenged us all to pick up our cross and follow Him. 

It sounds romantic and wonderful and inspiring. If you are dramatic like me you can conjure up thoughts of standing firm before the executioner's blade or intellectually dismantling a well-known protestant Catholic Hater.  You know - something grand and glittery.  The cold reality of life, however,  is that our crosses might be dull and mundane and seem like nothing to the person next to us.  In fact it can be difficult to even reach out to someone for help - to look for our own St. Simon of Cyrene - because we think our crosses are not worthy...we aren't in enough pain.

Buck up, we tell ourselves.  You can do this...and then one more time someone slaps us down and points out how poorly we are doing in our job or in our family or in life in general.  We know it is not that big a deal - we should not let whatever it is get us down - but it does anyway. 

So we keep quiet.  We shut the door to our office or our bedroom or we go to our car in the parking lot and we cry and feel ashamed that we are crying.  Why does this bother us so much, we ask ourselves.  It is not that big a deal.  There are children dying in Syria.  There are wonderful nuns undergoing chemo therapy.  There are people in our own neighborhoods without jobs or a place to live. 

Stop being such a baby.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Stop thinking only of yourself.

I think, and I could be wrong, that one of the worst traps we can fall into is the trap that somehow whatever we are feeling is not worthy to be expressed.  We straighten our shoulders and plaster on a smile but the resentment we have is planted.

And what do we resent?

We resent that other people come to us with their feelings and we listen and tell them we understand and then we ask them if they would like feedback and if they say no, we shut up....and we listen...and we commiserate and we try very hard to not shame them for feeling sad or angry or beaten up or run over or overlooked....then we encourage them.

And it feels (though it probably is not true) that we have no one in our lives that will do that for us.

In my case I know it is not true.  I am surrounded by people who love me and support me and will stay on the phone with me in the middle of the night when I am facing my demons and feeling inadequate.  I am one of the blessed in this world - a widow woman with a good support system - and it is one thing for which I am deeply, deeply grateful.

Look around you....is there someone in your life who is always there for you? 

Is anyone there for them?

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