I know that our readers come from many different backgrounds – both religiously and politically, but today, today is a day that Christians around the world celebrate new life, new hope, and a new beginning. It’s Easter, and I’d like to take time today to reflect on why it’s a special time of year for my family.
My kids are still young enough to want Easter egg hunts. After Mass, my youngest is planning on spending the entire day in an old bunny costume she’s worn for Halloween. But first, before the candy and the toys, we celebrate the holiness that comes with this feast day. In order to do that, the kids start to quiet down. They actually started to do that a few days ago. Reflecting each day on what Jesus was doing this week thousands of years ago, they imagined Him in the upper room on Thursday evening and in the garden on Thursday night. They imagined Him carrying the cross Friday morning. Then, they remembered Jesus being nailed to the cross at noon on Friday. From noon – 3pm on Friday, they watched The Passion. I didn’t direct the kids to do any of this, so it was quite impressive that they encouraged each other to be so quiet, thoughtful, and reflective!
Watching them prep like they did, and hearing them talking about the crucifixion, got me thinking about an expression: Bring it to the foot of the cross. You may have heard that before. Christians will sometimes say it to a friend during times of trouble. Confiding that something is wrong, they’re told to take the problem to the foot of the cross: Don’t go it alone, friend. Bring it to God. He’ll help. I have been telling myself more and more to remember to take my troubles, my worries, and my fears to the foot of the cross.
The older Ronan gets, the more worries I have. I shouldn’t worry as much as I do because, most of the time, problems we’ve had have worked themselves out. But on the days where I find that I can’t see beyond what’s right in front of me, I become overwhelmed and will mentally fall in a heap. When that happens, that’s where you’ll find me calling out for help.
Like when Ronan’s pricey medication was no longer covered under his insurance plan: Lord, this is so hard!
Like when Ronan started having grand mal seizures: God, what is happening?
Like when I’m just so tired and have no energy left for anyone: Jesus, please help me.
Pausing, reflecting, asking for help – it’s not an uncommon practice for anyone to do that. In fact, it’s one thing that all people can do no matter what their religious background is.
Last week, after a few tough weeks that had finally turned around for the better, I started to think about times when we, Ronan’s family, could be at the foot of the cross. Was it when I had to tie Ronan’s shoe for the millionth time?
Or when brother was asked to read the same lines from one of Ronan’s books out loud all afternoon?
Or later at a dental appointment when little sis had to keep singing a favorite song over and over again so Ronan would cooperate?
If we think that what we’re doing is a burden.
But we don’t.
The kids had no school on Good Friday. That morning, we spent some time thinking about ways that we could be at the foot of the cross for all that we’ve been called to do here at home for Ronan. But by the time that conversation was over, the typical sibs said that nothing they do for their brother is too much for them. They want to help because they can help, not because they feel like they have to.
They help by holding their brother’s hand when we’re out, but taking turns doing seizure watch, by teaching Ronan how to play, and by singing songs that he likes to hear even though they’ve long grown tired of that song and may want to go do something else.
Thoughtful, kind, and giving. These kids were more than prepared for Easter this year than I was!
I am not 100% hopeful 100% of the time. I have flaws. I have misgivings. I have feelings of regret and even resentment. When those moments of sadness, regret, and worry pop up, I do my best to remember to take it, whatever it is, to the foot of the cross.
Take it to the foot of the cross.
It’s better for me to bring it there, and to leave it there, than to let it hang around in my home. Home is a safe place for Ronan. He thrives here. Here, he’s encouraged, loved, guided and given the chance to be exactly who he is. He’s given us the chance to be better than we ever thought we could be, too.
Today, our family will celebrate and give thanks for the new life, new hope, and new beginning that this Easter season brings. I hope and pray that you have the chance to do that with your loved ones as well.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor of Age of Autism.