“If we all threw our crosses in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”
Recently, I was having a discussion with a group of women, inspired by the quote above. Like many conversations do, it opened up into quite an interesting realization. We womenfolk are quite insightful.
My friends were lamenting their struggles. Problems that you pray about, and cry over… often very privately. Problems that resonate in our bones so deeply. Major burdens that are very much out of our control.
Heavy burdens: infertility, marriage struggles, financial troubles, health concerns.
We discovered we’re often afraid to talk about them out loud, out of fear that a well-intentioned-friend would offer simple advice without knowledge of the weight of that burden. Simple, innocent suggestions can so often feel like these friends are jumping right on the cross you’re carrying. These weren’t simple little lifestyle choices that had daily stressful moments. It’s so easy to offer a trite “Oh, have you tried oxyclean?” and expect a happy face emoticon and the problem was solved.
No, these are a much heavier kind of burden, not a simple complaint that may have solutions and compromises and ways to get around with a problem-solving exercise.
After a while we learn how to cope with these types of situations. You learn how to kindly reply, “Thanks for that suggestion!”, smile, and change the subject. You become thick-skinned to the pain. Oh, it hurts, but eventually the callous builds and you’re able to survive through the suffering.
So, what if we actually could all throw our own crosses into a pile and pick up a different one? Would you?
Would you trade in your large family for the pain of infertility?
Would you trade in your gloriously faith-filled husband for a marriage with underlying emotional abuse or conflicting faiths?
Would you trade in your suitable home for one half the size, with underlying rot, sparky breaker box, and leaking roof?
Would you trade your frugal, but sustainable, income for the struggles of unemployment, foreclosure, and bankruptcy?
Would you trade in your random allergy attacks and annual sinus infections for a child or spouse with a serious acute disease?
When you stop to think about the crosses you are given, and dwell on them, they weigh us down into the depths of depression.
When you stop to think about the crosses you have NOT been given, in comparison – they are incomprehensible. These moments start to bring appreciation for the problems we have in life. Our crosses become something we CLING to with THANKSGIVING.
THANK YOU, GOD for giving me THIS cross.
It is VERY heavy, but I have already seen you help me cope and survive through it’s struggles.
I TRUST that You will allow me to learn, through this suffering, how to bring others to You.
While these burdens may be very, very challenging at times, God is using them to bring us closer to Him.
He’s asking us to trust Him, during our darkest hours.
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Emily is a cradle Catholic, wife of over 12 years to her hilarious husband, and a mother of 4 kids. Emily loves all things Catholic and stays busy volunteering at her children's Catholic School and parish. She also works full time as an Electrical Design Engineer.