Custom Crosses

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.

5 Comments on “Custom Crosses”

  1. Christi says:

    Extremely insightful and something I think everyone needs to read, I definitely needed to read this now. Although I only found your blog yesterday I’m excited to read some of what I missed so far and will continue to follow you from now on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, God is clearly working through your words!

  2. Rose says:

    This is a great post, Steve. Something we naturally gravitate towards as humans is the thought that everyone else is like us, in big things and in little things. It has to be a constant effort to understand others.

  3. Peter says:

    I know another story that involves crosses. I don’t remember it very well, but it goes like this:

    We all have our crosses to carry on through our lives. Once, a man decided that his cross was too heavy for him to carry, so he decided to cut off a little piece of it. Then he continues living his life carrying his cross. But then again, he decides that his cross is still too heavy and cuts off another piece of it. This goes on through all the rest of his life.

    When this man finally dies, he sees the path to the heaven. He also notices that he is chained to his cross. The path to the heaven, the man sees, is a single, big door. But before the heaven’s door there’s an abyss (the abyss is the hell), and this man sees that the other people are using their own crosses as a bridge to cross the abyss and get to the heaven’s door. The man, at this point, realizes that his cross is too little to be used as a bridge. But still, he puts his cross in the vertical position close to the edge, and let it fall over the abyss to see if it gets to the other side. He then falls into the hell.

    I have to say that the moral of this story differs from the custom crosses’s moral of the story, but it’s a good analogy to use sometimes.

    1. Yipes! I don’t think I like that one as much. It seems to say that God will damn us if we seek to stop suffering.

      1. Peter says:

        That was my first impression. But then you realize that the man, by living his life seeking a relief, an anesthetic for his real problems and duties (and thus ignoring his own cross, every time “cutting its pieces”), damned himself. Our cross is our bridge to the heaven, and it is the only way to get there.

        I actually find the story very meaningful when you look at it carefully. I also don’t remember it very well, so the real story isn’t likely to end so abruptly as I told. But you’ve got the plot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *