My sweet friend told me about an opportunity at an area church where participants can walk along a self-guided, meditative journey and walk in Jesus’ footsteps as He made His way from Gethsemane to Golgotha and the tomb. Each stop along the journey inspired by local Christian artists, includes a prayerful activity where participants can journal to record their experience along the way (www.elmbrook.org). Although I love the thought and purpose behind this experience I know in the past I would not have attended and I certainly would not have brought my children along because of the C.I.P. (Crying In Public). I know this is really spiritual, right up there with avoiding wearing hairnets to feed the hungry (see “Hairnet” post), but I really have never liked the idea of letting my kids see me cry. I remember the few times I saw my mom or dad cry when I was a kid and it was well, sort of frightening. But as some of you know I have cried every day for the past three weeks because of my recent faith crisis. My kids saw me cry so frequently over the last three weeks that it really was not even that much of a spectacle toward the end. They would just come over and hug me and we’d all move on with our lives. God brought me to a place over the course of the last three weeks where I really did not care so much that my kids saw me cry because 1) I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to and 2) they knew why I was crying. They knew that God had brought me to a place where my heart was breaking for what breaks His but they also knew that because it was from God, everything would be okay eventually.They learned that when God brings us something hard and painful it is okay to cry, hurt and even be mad and confused at times. My kids saw that in my weakness Christ truly was my only source of strength and peace. And I believe by seeing me cry my children saw me somehow at my strongest because there is strength when we are in the midst of the battle. Once we know the end of a hard journey the story is beautiful, powerful and inspirational. But to see a story lived out fosters a greater depth of understanding and appreciation for the fight, not just the victory or the lessons learned.
“Dear Lord, Thank you for an opportunity to go on a prayer walk with my kids that will help keep our eyes fixed on what matters during this Holy Week. Thank you for my own reflective journey that has helped me appreciate even more the unimaginable journey you took for me, everyone I love and for everyone you love. Thank you for helping me understand that I cannot and should not shelter my children from seeing me cry because when you are walking alongside me in the hard places those tears are never wasted. Thank you that although my faith crisis is not over, it has at least moved to the status of a “situation.” Thank you that through it all I have learned to keep you front and center because after all, that was my prayer and hope during this Lenten journey to begin with. Thank you Jesus. Amen.”