Putting Up with Pretend Crosses

Putting Up with Pretend Crosses

I played the victim on Ash Wednesday. Early that morning I discovered I couldn’t get online, and I spent a frustrating hour fixing it, before devoting the rest of the morning to working on a new book I’m writing. I figured I’d have lunch and then put everything I’ve written so far in Dropbox so I wouldn’t lose anything.

That’s when my laptop stopped working and I came dangerously close to a meltdown. After two unsuccessful hours with Apple phone support, they told me to take the laptop into the Apple Store for emergency surgery.

So I did, and then an email arrived on my phone from my bank that began, “Unfortunately, you had insufficient funds to cover a check.” What heavy crosses I had to bear that day, I thought. But I had to smile, thinking nothing else could possibly go wrong, could it? After I transferred money to cover my bounced check, my laptop problem was solved and nothing was lost.

Early the next morning I got a text from my friend Sarah, whose husband had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier, that said, “Tom is dying; it could be today. Pray.” And it was that day. Then I had coffee with another friend whose husband of twenty-five years had just walked out on her.

What I suffered were not crosses at all, just insignificant little annoyances, problems that had tedious yet easy solutions.  Real crosses come without solutions, just lots of heartache mixed up with little bits of hope that take lots of time just to take root.

 
 

About the Author

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, retreat leader, teacher, and writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the National Catholic Reporter. His book, "Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places" is available at catalog.franciscanmedia.org. He can be contacted at jjmch1300@gmail.com.