Many years ago, in the year after my long illness, during a time when I was still struggling daily with my health, my husband Tony asked me to carry the cross into the church with others on Good Friday. In our church, Good Friday is celebrated with a sung passion, followed by the cross being brought into the assembly, where it is then venerated. As the liturgist, Tony tries to pick people to carry the cross who have had a challenging year. Perhaps they were touched by illness, death, loss of a job, etc. It is quite symbolic when you know you are helping to carry another’s burdens on this day.
On the Tuesday before Good Friday, the cross bearers gathered in the church to practice. There were six of us, and all of us were needed to carry the big crucifixion cross. We had to learn how to put it on our shoulders, move around the church, lower the bottom of the cross at every section of the assembly, and eventually lay the cross against the altar. My friend Tracy was also carrying the cross, and both of us looked at each other, wondering how we would be able to carry the cross that was so heavy. We struggled through the practice, and our prayers that week included ease to carry the cross.
When Good Friday arrived and it was time to do our work, we picked up the cross and began carrying it into the assembly. What I noticed immediately was how light the cross was compared to when we practiced in an empty church on Tuesday. Each time we raised the cross to our shoulders and then lowered the front end for people to see, I felt a surge of prayers helping me to lift the cross. Tracy and I both commented that when everyone lifts the crosses and burdens of their lives in prayer, all of us benefit. I knew others in the church had suffered, and I knew people were raising their prayers, and the cross up to God. It was amazing how much lighter the cross became in the midst of those prayers.
While I don’t publicly share my faith often, it is a guiding principle that helps me move through my life, trusting that somehow, even when I can’t see the end result, I am on the right path. The power of asking for what we need and trusting that our prayers are heard, even when we can’t see immediate results, was palatable for me on that Good Friday. The power of community to hold us when we are struggling still brings tears to my eyes today.
We are never meant to walk this journey alone. Yet so many of us suffer alone, thinking no one would understand, no one else has gone through this, no one has time to hear what I have to say.
One of the biggest things I have learned this year in my Business Miracles Community is that when we hide from others, we are missing out on the support that others are just waiting to offer. Yet when we step in and open up, be brave in our vulnerability, others find there are pieces of their own lives that may look like yours, and they can offer you compassion and healing.
This week, as you move into the Easter Season, my challenge to you is to STEP INTO COMMUNITY and willingly share your journey with others. Community is when people know of your flaws and vulnerabilities and, recognizing that in themselves, step up to offer their prayers and hands of support. And you willingly give back to others. Community makes light of the burdens we carry. All it takes is a little willingness on your part to be seen.