Journal entry, September 14, 2005, 11:54 PM
It occurred to me tonight during Great Vespers that everything we say about the cross of Christ, because of what He did and who he is, we can now say about the crosses we carry, if in fact we are carrying them in a manner worthy of Christ. Because of and through His suffering, our crosses are our salvation; they defeat the demons; they bring hope and strength to the Body of Christ. Somehow these things that were our downfall, these things- some of which were forced upon us and some of which we have chosen by our own brokenness, are now gifts to us for our salvation- not in and of themselves, but because of the holiness of the suffering of Jesus.
He has made my suffering sacred- holy unto Him- the fire He means to cleanse me, to set me apart for Himself. I don't understand how this is, but I know it is. I hurt to see it, as I hurt to begin to understand what we are saying about ourselves when we hymn Mary. It is not that the burdens we carry are, of themselves, the path to salvation, apart from Christ. It is that when we carry those burdens in a manner befitting followers of Christ, keeping His cross always in focus, they become the means by which we are saved.
How, how, how? What is this, that the cross of living daily with the reality of my deepest wounds might actually come to bring light and life to me? Learning to live with the consequences not only of my own sin, but of someone else's as well- learning to live with remembering, with experiencing, with understanding and finding who I am in Christ in the midst of it- this wonderfully horrific process of death leads to life. And denying it; running from it; shielding my eyes and pretending it does not exist, these things lead to death. This is true regardless of the particular burden one carries. We must look, we must see, we must take up, we must learn to bear it.
And so much lighter the burden, to walk with it that way, with Christ taking the greater part of the load, than it is to attempt, with a great white elephant sitting on your back, to walk as if there were nothing on your back at all.