Lately, I come to Mass, look at the crucifix, and immediately start to cry. Until I sit and gaze upon His suffering, I have no idea how much I am wading in my own suffering- how I have managed to walk through this morning routine joyfully and graciously- all the while, deep down, there is this aching howl dying to get out- to scream to the world. And it feels like walking in through the front door of your home after a long, awful day, dropping your heavy briefcase and falling into bed. It's that kind of falling down and weeping-not because you feel sorrow-but mostly because you feel comfort-the kind of comfort when you share that most hideous thing you are carrying and someone looks at you lovingly and says, "me too, I feel that too, I get it." This is why I cry at the foot of the cross. Because this is where my suffering meets Jesus' suffering. This is where I am understood. This is where my sorrow takes on great purpose. And I am not drowning, but wading. Wading in the waters that will not cover my head, and even so, if they do, He will breathe for me.
Just yesterday we stood in our circle in front of the church as we do, and we comforted a friend who is steeped in her sorrow. And I shared, in the oh so eloquent way that I do, "You know, it is not that I enjoy suffering, but He is never more present than when things suck."
And so I am at long last learning to embrace these rocky roads when I find my feet stumbling upon them, and to ask him to take in the air for me should the waves cover my head, and then I walk into church and I fall to my knees and I joyfully allow the dam to break and the river of tears to flow, because there is no greater comfort than sharing in His pain, then knowing He cares. And it is here on my knees where His mercy calls out; this place of profound love, where sorrow mingles with joy, and His wounds shelter me from the storm.