I believe no matter how blessed we are in life, we all have our own crosses to bear. Life comes as a package deal with burdens. It’s just the nature of life and there’s no getting out of it. As much as I prefer to focus only on the positives, there are times when the bad things are so in your face, they’re hard to ignore.
I’ve been facing a few challenges in my life lately that really got me thinking about life and its burdens. While everyone has problems, we don’t all deal with them in the same way. I find it funny (not Ha-ha funny) how we almost never talk about our problems. It’s almost like we don’t allow ourselves to ‘complain’. Or sometimes, we think the less we talk about our problems, the less real they’ll be, until they eventually miraculously disappear. Or is that just me?
At the end of the day, we are the only ones to know the weight of our crosses (some carry more than just one). There are crosses of all sizes and made of different materials – financial burdens, a career that’s not taking off, drug addictions, death of a close family member, depression, terminal illnesses, infertility, toxic in-laws, troubled marriage, divorce etc. We all face hardships at some point.
I’m catholic and I believe in God. But I’m not a saint. I sin every single day, I don’t always go to church, I don’t know the bible back-to-front and I don’t always live my life by the 12 commandments. But I believe in God. And I believe that God gives you only what you can handle.
I stumbled across a short story lately about a man who couldn’t carry his cross anymore because it was way too heavy for him. God asked him if he wanted to trade for another cross. The man was thrilled and accepted the offer. So he entered a room filled with crosses of different sizes, colours, materials and weight. There were thousands of them in that room alone. The man took his time, looking at all of them, touching and carrying them on his back to test the weight. He finally saw a small cross made of feathers in the corner of the room, hidden under much bigger crosses. He pulled it out and exclaimed “That’s the one I want! It’s perfect for me!” And God said “But my son, that’s exactly the cross you came in with…”
We can get so bogged down with our crosses sometimes, because let’s face it, at times they are quite heavy and we don’t have the energy to pay attention to the fact that everyone has things they are carrying with them through life. It’s Life, it’s a journey, but it is also miraculous and wonderful when we take a step back and realise how fortunate we actually are. There is always someone with a heavier cross to carry. But the secret to getting the strength you need to carry your cross, is in fact to look around you instead of focusing so much on your little person and your misery. Listen to others, be compassionate and feel for them, give them a helping hand whenever you can…only then you’ll be able to say “Thank you God for giving me THIS cross. I’ll carry it with pride and dignity”. I’m not saying to draw the strength from other people’s misery, but just to realise that maybe, just maybe, your cross is a blessing, and that if you were given the opportunity to trade for another cross, you’d probably choose to get yours back.