I prefer not to get political or talk about religion in much of my writing because so many times it becomes divisive, or a point of contention for many people. But today, I need to get something off my mind. I’m not a religious person. In fact, I’ve found little value in religion itself. Living by a list of rules and checkboxes to make sure I’ve done things right has always smacked of misguided motivation for me. It’s not that I don’t value much of what religion can teach us, but the motivation is often disconcerting, and sometimes it frightening, especially when religion is placed in a position of higher importance than the relationships we possess.
I go to a Christian church, and though some of my political and religious views aren’t terribly popular among some of the church patrons, we find a way to set those differences aside (most of the time) and engage in honest and thought-provoking dialogue. Recently, someone asked me what the cross means to me. I didn’t have to think long. My response was, “It’s the source of a magic that sets us free from our burdens so we can pick up the burdens of someone else.” Needless to say, the word “magic” used in the same sentence as “the cross” raised some eyebrows—this made me laugh.
I could tell the individual I was speaking with and a few of those who listened in were thinking of wizards and cauldrons. I had some explaining to do. When I say, “magic,” I’m not referring to spells and witchcraft. For centuries, people have used the word magic to explain the unexplainable, to try and give some context to things not understood. The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights were thought to be magic, fire was a gift from the gods whose source was unexplained for centuries, and there are a host of other things that until they explained were thought to be magic.
Once I had clarified my perspective and the reason I had used the word, anxieties seemed to subside, and people were more inclined to listen.
So I continued as I explained what the cross represents for me, a place of letting a go, a focal point for many that stands as a reminder that we don’t have to hold on to the burdens we carry. We always have the choice to let them go, sometimes we set them down for a minute, a few hours, a few days, But when we choose to set whatever is weighing us down at the base of the cross, it gives someone else the opportunity to pick it up and carry it for us.
And this is where the magic happens. When we let go of the pains, addictions, trauma, and the host of other things that plague our lives, not only are we allowing others carry what we were never meant to deal with on our own, our arms a free to pick up the burden of another.
I finished with the conversation with, “The cross represents the magic of letting go. We can’t fully understand the dynamics at play in any situation, but when we choose to set our pains aside, sometimes just for a moment, and carry someone else’s load, we are permitting others to do the same.
The cross represents a beauty that all men and women should aspire to because we all can be a place where someone can lay down their burdens knowing that we will pick them up.
Ask yourself, “what is preventing me from carrying someone through hard times?” Once you’ve identified it, try letting it go and let the magic happen.