Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Cross on the Side of the Road

Cars flash past a gaudy bright yellow floral cross on the side of the freeway. Off the blacktop ten feet up on the embankment, it stands stoically . . . no words, no name, just stands. The drivers of the vehicles that pass by hardly notice it, and certainly are not moved to deep emotion as they listen to talk radio, manage their young toddlers, and chat on their i-phones.

At some tearfilled reunion a broken person brought that cross, to that sacred spot, to that hill, that patch of rocks, that mile marker . . . because something tragic happened there. The cross that hardly gets noticed is evidence of a profound loss . . . a wound that is still open and healing.

That cross proves a journey was taken . . . a pilgramage was travelled . . . back to that spot, back to that tragedy, that memory . . . to help process the loss that happened there.

The cross that is left is not for the deceased - for in reality the grieving know the deceased are in a better place, far above the busy freeway. The cross is not left for the distracted road-raged passerby who faintly notices the fading flowers. The cross is left for the grieving. It marks a meridian of time. It marks a private suffering. It marks a relationship.

More importantly it marks a journey and a process. With the placing of the cross at the scene of a tragedy, the grieving discover pieces of themselves that were lost at the scene. Those pieces of the puzzle, those pieces of themselves, are healing as they take their places and bring wholeness.

So today as you pass that gaudy yellow floral cross on the side of the freeway, pray for the grieving. Pray that they find all of the pieces of themselves that were shattered at that tragedy. Pray that they find healing to get back on the road, that they can again listen to talk radio, manage their young toddlers, and chat on their i-phones. That life can again be about amazing destinations, purpose and career and a life's work; that life can again hold joy and music and laughter.

Today when you see that cross on the side of the road, pray. Somewhere on that busy road there is a walking wounded picking up the pieces. And one day, if that walking wounded is you, I'll go with you to that side of the road and help you place a cross. I know the way. I know the grieving, the horror, the tragedy. I also know that life holds more than loss. It holds courage, renewal, the joy and beauty of touch and compassion. I know as you pick up the pieces God is there - He's always been there - and He will show you how the pieces fit, one-by-sacred-one.

You see God knows all about crosses.

He died for you on one.