What Life gives you is sometimes heavy to carry. It may force you to stumble, fall down, and even want to quit. You may wonder why this burden was given to you and think that it isn’t fair. You may need to take a break, require the assistance of another, and even question if you can keep going. My time in New Mexico showed me that all of that is okay as even the King of Kings struggled carrying His burden.
I stayed a day in Santa Fe, New Mexico on my road trip to Los Angeles in November of 2018. While exploring the town, I came across a Stations of the Cross sculpture garden at the chapel of St. Francis of Assisi.
Stations of the Cross are a Catholic tradition that show 14 images or scenes from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I had never seen them before and had only heard tales of people from Catholic school being forced to go to the stations once a week and meditate on each image.
As I made my way through the garden examining the 14 sculptures , I was reminded that Jesus – just like you, me and everyone else – struggled with what Life was forcing him to carry. I was deeply moved by stations 3,7, and 9 which showed Jesus falling down and stations 5 and 6 depicting him getting help from others. The sight of these sculptures showing the Son of God struggling to carry his cross gave me permission to struggle carrying mine. It reminded me that it’s okay to stumble, fall, rest, and even receive help while carrying life’s burdens.
I’m no biblical scholar but remember thinking why hadn’t I ever heard of a women named Veronica wiping Jesus’ face as depicted in station 6 or why I didn’t remember him falling down three times as shown in stations 3, 7, and 9. Upon further research, I discovered that several stations were not biblically accurate and were added to the crucifixion story by Catholic Church. This bit of information could have changed my view of the garden but if I’m honest it really doesn’t matter to me.
What matters is what I personally took away from the sculpture garden in Santa Fe. The realization that no one carries Life’s burdens with ease and it is okay to struggle carrying your cross. That message will continue to be with me as Life continues to provide me with burdens to carry.
It was with me this past weekend as I spent Easter in Virginia with my brother and sister. Life has presented us with the task of cleaning out our beloved mother’s house. I had to mentally return to the the Stations of the Cross in Santa Fe as a reminder to myself that it is okay to struggle with the weight of what we have been given to do. I needed to remember that I was in good company when I fell down, took a break, and let my sister wipe my face. It doesn’t mean that I can’t handle what has been given to me to carry but that there is nothing wrong with struggling with it.