Ever hear that story about the guy who gets to choose his cross? Wish I could find a link to it, but googling “man choose cross heavy Jesus” didn’t narrow it down much.
Anyway, so: a man is complaining about his lot in life, how his problems are worse than other people’s. He prays about it and has a vision: the Lord arrives and says Okay, let’s go, I’ll show you all the different crosses that people have, and you can pick the one you like the best.
So they go and look at all the crosses — I always imagine them wandering through some hangar-sized, dusty storage room, fluorescently lit maybe. The man looks at one cross after another: some of them are covered in spikes or barbed wire, one’s ten feet long and made of iron, one’s as hot as a stove. He can’t imagine carrying any of them around every day. Some of them he can’t imagine carrying for even one day. This goes on for hours, every cross he sees belonging to a real person, none of them seeming even close to bearable.
Finally he sees one that isn’t too bad, that he feels like he can handle. It’s got a few splinters but nothing that’ll really gouge; it’s pretty heavy but he can heft it. He says, I’ll take that one. And Jesus says, That’s the one you’ve already got.
I think it must be like that, no? I know a lot of people whose life I could never ever handle, and there are some people who think my life is terribly hard. I wish I could tell all the people who accuse the Church of laying heavy burdens on gay men how happy I am with my life. Although, on the occasions when I’ve done just that, they haven’t taken my word for it. They don’t seem to have heard me at all.
Some crosses truly are worse than others, but whatever yours is, you get to know it. You know the shape of it, how to balance it without tripping too often, where the biggest splinters are. It’s never going to be comfortable, but it won’t kill you, and it might save you.