Have you ever noticed that no matter how good your life is there’s still that one thing that’s not quite right? Your boss is still not giving you the praise you deserve, or your social life is struggling, or you’re looking forward to the day you can finally afford that vacation. Or maybe it’s the other way around – maybe nothing feels right in your life but a couple of things. Maybe your only saving grace amidst your chaotic life is a church group, or a special yoga class.
I’ve had life described to me before as having seasons. Some are bountiful in joy, others are far more trying. In a Catholic view of life – this can be translated to crosses we are called to bear. Some crosses are lifelong ones, others are seasonal.
I was talking the other day with my boyfriend about the current crosses we bear. Believe me, we do. I know, I know, all the single women grit their teeth now and say, “Well at least you’re in a relationship.” Let me be clear here – single women have a whole set of other crosses. As do married relationships, of which I know nothing about. Many of the heavy things I bear today in my relationship, will likely be replaced with new ones in due time. That sounds terrible, I mean why do you have to bear heavy things at all, right?
Good question – why do we have to bear anything at all?? Why can’t we live our life joyfully and happily, with no crosses?
Let me pose a question – have you ever, ever had a time in your life where everything is just perfect all at once? If you have, drop everything you’re doing, send me an email and tell me how you do it. If your answer is no, don’t worry, I’m in the same boat. Catholics are called to bear heavy crosses because with suffering, believe it or not, comes joy. Maybe not instantaneously, sometimes it is really freakin’ hard to see the joy that can come from a situation. But we must trust that it will be there and God will supply us with what we need when we most need it.
The secret, I feel, to Christian joy is bearing our crosses and still seeing the good. I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m definitely not saying it comes naturally. It comes from a lot of steadfast prayer. We’re always going to find something we’re unhappy with in our lives. Always. But can we find something we’re happy with? How often do we make a point to praise thanks for it?
Sometimes the “make a gratitude list” approach to happiness is frustrating. You just want to fix the problems in your life gosh-darn-it. I get that. But know that many of our crosses are seasonal. And that we aren’t expected to bear them without the fruits of their joys, whenever they may come.