Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Walking The Path To My Calvary
I reach up, holding this plank with shaky hands, sweat pouring down my forehead. With weak knees, I stumble over this barren earth losing my balance when stepping on the smallest of pebbles. Down I crash, hitting the ground. Hard. This hefty timber comes tumbling down upon me and there I lay, barely breathing under it's great weight. Silence. Complete darkness. I am all alone. This is the time I question my own strength. Can I go on? Is it even worth it? Why do I try? And then, just as sunshine rises over the horizon and night is met with all the promise of a new day, the weight is lifted and the darkness fades. In it's stead, staring back at me, I see the kindest, most compassionate eyes, filled with tears, filled with my pain. He reaches out his hand to me and helps me up. I reposition my substantial load, equally distributing it's weight across my back. I check my balance before I begin to walk. Walk again. It's then that I look up for the first time to see whom I should thank for rescuing me. Who was this hero? And there He stands, bent forward, sweat and blood running down His face. But He stands. He does not waiver. He does not stumble. He stands. He stands for me. He embraces His tremendous cross, such a weight I cannot even fathom carrying. I look at the small bundle of wood I am supposed to lug on my back and realize how small my cross has become. That large plank, the great weight I was suffocating under, is no longer there. It has been replaced by a much smaller version. My little cross. I look to my Lord and see His eyes pleading for me to pick it up and take my little cross. So I do. I fling it on my back and together we journey along this path. I still feel it's weight on my body, trying to push me down. I still feel the grief, despair and sadness that sits heavily upon me. Yet, I know, this road that I travel is not one I travel alone. I can carry on, I can continue, because He has taken on my burdens and relieved me of the impossible. So with joy and tremendous effort, I take my next step.
I had such grand ideas of the Lenten journey I'd take this year. How my heart would be transformed! How close I would become to my Jesus! Yet, the Father had other plans for me. This entire season has been spent at doctors offices, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms. Fighting colds and banishing fevers has been the plight of my poor children for most of the month of February. But the boys finally kicked their cold and things began to look up. Spring was coming and winter would be gone soon enough. We could get through this, right?
Up until a week ago, I felt we were coming out of the haze sickness leaves over a household, when it was my turn for the ER visit. Last week, my husband and I suffered our third miscarriage. The third baby I will never get to hold against my skin, nurse, bathe, or smell that newborn baby smell. The third child I'll never watch grow up. The third adult I'll never send to college or see get married. Therefore, my cross became too great, much too great for me or my husband to carry alone. We were stumbling and falling beneath it's weight. And if I'm being completely honest, there were moments when I didn't want to get back up again. I didn't want to take on this cross, to carry this grief, this pain, this loss. I didn't want to go through this AGAIN. Yet, God the Father knew how difficult this would be for us and in His great goodness and generosity, He sent us beautiful mercies along the way. The best part was that He made me aware of these mercies when they were happening and the consolation of knowing He was with us, helped us both to keep going and to get out of bed in each morning.
Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of times I felt alone, abandoned even. If anyone has ever experienced a miscarriage at the ER, you know how matter-of-fact these things are taken and how little if any care or sympathy is expressed. During my examinations, while alone with numerous emotionless medical personnel, I was wondering, just as my Jesus had on Calvary, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?". Intellectually I knew God was there. My Blessed Mother was there, holding me, stroking my hair. I knew it, but I couldn't feel it. The emptiness! The great nothingness! It's a darkness I do not wish upon my worst enemies. This is the cross I had fallen beneath. It's a cross I must carry every day and one I am trying desperately to carry well.
You know, it's funny, because life actually goes on. The earth has the nerve to rotate around the sun and time has the gall to march on. In spite of my heartache, the world continues to move. How cruel and yet how satisfying to know some things never change. To know this great tragedy of ours will not become the "be all and end all" and life will go on, is both terrifying and reassuring at the same time. Am I still stumbling over the little pebbles of life? You better believe it. Do I fall sometimes thinking I can't or don't want to get up? It's part of the process, a process I know all too well. But do I know my Lord, Jesus, has taken the most burdensome parts of my cross upon His back? Do I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this Lent, I walk this path to my Calvary in the greatest company? Oh, praise God for this knowledge! Praise God for this truth! I do not walk this path alone. It gives me joy, no matter how difficult it may be, to suffer alongside my Jesus and if I must suffer, let me, Lord, suffer well with You, for the greatest good of all souls!