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My Stations of the Cross P.1

April 25, 2011

I became a Christian 10 years ago on an Easter Sunday.  Most years I just revel in this amazing grace, this amazing rescue that took place in my life 10 years ago, but this year was different.  This year brought on more calculated reflections (maybe because I live with a computer scientist?) and a desire to try and trace back all the different points in which God has touched my life.  Could such things even be traced?

While looking online at Italian frescoes depicting the Stations of the Cross (ones I had once stood in front of in Italy), it occurred to me that there were various, yet distinct, moments when Jesus positioned himself in my life.  I wouldn’t have known it then, but looking back I believe they were subtle encounters with God.  In no particular order (due to my failing memory), my own life’s Stations of the Cross:

Station #1 – a car ride with Jenny

She drove me home in a tan minivan, or at least that’s what I thought she was driving when I was eleven years old.  I sat in the passenger seat picking at the cushion’s fraying edges while my favorite babysitter navigated the way back to my house.  My feet were planted on the tan dashboard, and I recall the topic of Jesus coming up.

“Do you know who Jesus is?” Jenny asked me.

“No,” I said.

“He’s God’s son, and he and God love you.”  Jenny took her eyes off the road briefly to smile at me and gauge my reaction.  I didn’t have one.  Her words didn’t mean anything to me at all.  I stared ahead and asked to turn up the volume on the radio.  We spent the rest of the car ride singing our way home.

Station #2 – my grandfather wrote crazy letters

I didn’t get to know my mom’s dad very well in person, but my fondest memories of my grandfather are his letters.  He used to send me pages upon pages of letters, all written on yellow legal pad paper with his slanted handwriting penned from margin to margin.  He wrote the craziest stories about birds and alligators and dogs who ate ice cream – all made up, and all for the purpose of amusing his granddaughter who lived 2,000 miles away.  He once sent me a letter of nothing but sketches of birdhouses.

For all his quirkiness and crazy imagination, my grandfather was also the first person I felt safe enough to ask a question about God.  Knowing he was a devout Catholic, I remember deciding to write a letter to him asking if he thought God was real.  I wish I could remember his exact words when he wrote me back.  I wish I could say he wrote back speaking unparalleled truth about the existence of God. But all I can remember is receiving a letter back.  All I remember is the smell of his yellow legal pad paper.  All I can remember is the relief I felt that he hadn’t turned my question down.

Station #3 – my cross necklace meant good days

I often stumbled with the clasp of the small silver chain that tied my cross necklace around my neck.  My middle school fingers were still uncoordinated, but on the days I wore the necklace, I somehow always managed to get the unwieldy thing centered in the front of my shirt.  I knew nothing about this cross, except that I liked the dove that was engraved at its center.  And I liked that when I put it on, I always felt at peace. As an eighth grader, I felt that wearing that cross meant my classes would go well.  My friend Morgan would be nice to me and forget about our fight on the phone the night before.  Chris, the boy I had liked desperately for a year at that time, would notice me more than usual that day.  Wearing that cross somehow gave me more confidence on the days I had it on.  I don’t even remember how or when I received it, or for what occasion.  I just remember the feeling.  It would always be a good day when I walked out the door.

Station #4 – heaven is on a mountaintop

Our backyard growing up faced an open field.  The open space gave way for an incredible view of the Rockies, and I had a perfect view of my favorite spot – an odd m-shaped peak at the end of a ridge.  In the summers I used to go outside and swing in my pajamas until the sky got dark.  I don’t even remember what I was doing half the time out there, but I loved to swing facing the mountains.  And for as long as I can remember, I always thought that m-shaped peak was the place you went to be taken to heaven.  I do not know when this idea crept into my mind, but it did.  Each night I would swing on my swing-set, and look up at my Heaven-Ridge, fully trusting that if I died, I would meet God while standing there.

Come back later for Part 2.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 6:39 pm

    eager….

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