Saturday, 26 March 2016

Good Friday: On Fear and Not Carrying the Wrong Cross

In Fr. John Lacey's Good Friday service homily, he pointed out that we will always have our crosses whether or not we believe in Christ or choose to carry them.

It was actually a relief for me to be reminded of this. When I hear the phrase "carry your cross", I tend to strongly resist. I suppose I think that somehow, if I say yes, that is what will allow suffering to be heaped upon me. Accepting any cross Christ gives me? - my mind jumps to the most extreme versions of what that could entail: concentration camps, martyrdom, or (worst of all) losing my child - um, no I'm not ok with any of that, thanks.

But in reality, both good and bad things will happen in my life regardless of whether or not I choose to place them in God's hands.

In fact, I realized that the cross Christ wants me to carry isn't usually as heavy as the one I cut out for myself. What I am actually asked to deal with is the real things that are happening in my life, whether that means not-being-asleep at 3am when I really want to be, or financial setbacks, or family conflict. There is pain involved, but it is by no means crushing me. Now I know that some people are experiencing much much greater, more excruciating things, and that maybe at some point I might have to as well. But that's where I have to have the faith that God will give us only what we can bear (knowing how small and weak we are), and try my best to support those with the hardest burdens.

What I am not meant to be carrying is the fear of All Of The Things. All the possibilities that my brain cooks up to worry itself over but that have no bearing in reality. These root me in fear, rather than love. I waste my limited energy resources trying to carry a cross that doesn't even exist, while getting distracted from the actual needs of the moment that do.

There is only one cross that contains every human suffering, and it is His.

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