In the End, The Cross Bears Us

You've been informed, I'm sure, that we all have a cross to bear. Me being me, I've got at least a dozen this week alone. Here are a few of mine:

  • Anxiety manifest as dirty dried-egg dishes in the sink provoked by massive housecleaning procrastination

  • Neediness for friendship exacerbated by the fear of being needy and resulting in lights-off night time solo binges of Noosa Raspberry yogurt and Over The Garden Wall mega-sessions ("Welcome to the Unknown boys! You're more lost than you realize.")

  • Financial worries that feel like an unstoppable hemmoraghing flow of bills that turn into drinking too much coffee, coffee sweats, and fogetting to eat breakfast and lunch

  • Really living into my calling as an Enneagram 8w7 so that not only do I pursue conflict but I do it as a kind of sporting adventure while desperately trying to be a magnanimous open-hearted 2 with a thousand white flags in my back pocket that I'm completely unwilling to wave

  • Impatience with bad theology, zealotry with good theology

  • Comparing myself with everyone all the time everywhere and either finding myself to be vastly superior (false) or in dead last place (also false)

  • Pizza Rolls, my god I can't stop myself

This is the short list; the crosses are endless and heavy. I wrestle mightily with each one, sometimes doing better, sometimes falling down completely. And as a friend of Christ and Magdalena (who also bore enormous crosses with tremendous grace and beauty), I find myself taking deep pride in the crosses I bear. I feel stoic, mature, faithful, and strong. I try to bear my crosses with gratitude and maturity and remember that we are all bearing mighty crosses. This is the heart of my belonging to this earth, a human woven into the fabric of the beautiful struggle of incarnation and cross-bearing humanity.

But recently I realized, Christ bearing the cross was not the most important part of the story. It's a phrase we've developed as a kind of encouragment for enduring things we cannot control. But that's not how the story ends. After Christ carries his own cross up the hill, he himself is hung upon it. In the end, the cross bears him.

In the Tarot, the Hanged Man represents this well. This card is the one of ultimate surrender, being caught in a rabbit snare and realizing that the more you struggle, the tighter the trap will hold you. This card tells us that the only way out is to put your heart above your head, stay open, relax, and surrender. The figure in this card is almost always depicted as having a sun or halo around their head and a peaceful face indicating that the change in perspective brought on by surrender and acceptance leads to insight, light, new vision. This is a step (and sometimes a long one) in the process towards freedom.

As my dear friend Rev. Reagan Humber reminded me, "I often say we don't need to go out and find crosses to bear. The crosses find us. We already have them, or if we don't, we will. But, what Jesus tells us is where to go and where we will go with the crosses we have, which is to resurrection."

It is truly sacred work to bear our crosses, and to do it with as much grace as possible. And it's been huge for me to realize that eventually every cross of mine will bear me too, will ask me to surrender to it, will be the inescapable rabbit snare in which I must find acceptance and surrender. I can wrestle all I want dragging my crosses this way and that but in the end, it is the cross that bears us.

"I give up" becomes the sweetest phrase we know. And as we hang upon our own particular crosses, we do our best to keep our hearts tender, to stay present with those who love and witness us (shout out to the Marys), and to open our eyes to the real possibility of ressurection, transformation, and the possibility of something changing in us that is greater than we could even imagine. Some might even call it a miracle.

Metaphor aside, if you feel like you're struggling with a particular cross - relationships, job, anxiety, lonliness, fear, anything - you don't have to struggle alone. The work I do is - at its heart - companioning people on their spiritual journey as we all wrestle with our particular burdens. The trick is, a burden shared is a burden halved and you never have to do it alone. If you need support, please know that I'm here to help and you can book a private Spiritual Care Session at any time and get spiritual support for whatever you're working through.

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