This, I thought, is not the cross I wanted. Can’t I have something different?
I’ve heard that if everyone could throw their particular struggles and crosses of life into a common pile, we would go through and pick again the one we already have in our lives. That when we would compare our crosses to what other people are struggling with, we would realize that we didn’t have it too bad the first time. Or maybe that we would recognize that the cross we have, perhaps oddly and strangely, is one customized for our lives.
It might be true, if I knew the secret things you struggled with, that I would recognize that my cross is far more manageable than I initially thought. Yet at this particular time, I’m simply wishing I could choose something different. I survey the struggle and it doesn’t quite seem fair, this thing with which I’m saddled. Or things, to be more precise.
When I speak of these struggles, I don’t always mean failures or weaknesses. Sometimes, the cross in our lives is simply a matter of circumstance. It isn’t anything we can choose to alter, rather it is something we choose to embrace, or at least endure. The crosses of circumstance might be some of the most difficult ones to bear because we find ourselves unable to fix the recognizable problem.
After asking a few pitiful whys, I must then ask the Lord how He desires this circumstance to shape my heart. I am convinced, even if I don’t perfectly live this truth, that every single aspect of our lives is an avenue God desires to take to meet us. Oversleeping? A cold? Homework? Lovely breakfast with a friend? Relaxing Sundays? Cleaning? All avenues that God wants to use to meet me in the present moment.
And if…you give Him your many miseries with great humility, but also with great confidence, then you give Him His great joy — His joy of being Savior.
I Believe in Love, Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee
This cross I have in mind is not lessened by a few simple words. Though admittedly small, it matters to me and thus it matters to the Lord. It is humbling, frustrating, and annoying, but it is still an avenue for God to take to my stony, little heart. So I take this little cross to Him, often in complaints, but sometimes to see what He is doing in my heart through this circumstance. How is He using it to break this heart open to Him? How is He using it to keep me from being too prideful or self-assured? How is He using this to pour out His love for me?
This isn’t the cross I wanted, yet it is the cross I have in my life. In this present moment, it is the path God desires to use to mold me and shape me into the creation He longs for me to be. And how can I encounter God, if not in the present?