I'm so resisting this next part of the journey. If going through "week 1," the "sin" section was tough, what will the section on the crucifixion be like? The sin section was 5 weeks of asking that I might see and grieve over the ways I continue to choose to sin, in spite of God's limitless love, grace and mercy. In those weeks, there was also a focus on knowing myself as loved by God in spite of the sin... a very rich time, yet a very sobering time.
Now, after 15 weeks of "Walking with Jesus" in "week 2"--watching Jesus, following Jesus, trying to learn to answer His call--I move towards the cross in "week 3."
My initial questions were: Am I ready? Should I go there yet? or first spend more time in the life of Christ?
I thought, I had imagined, that the grace I would be seeking would be to die to self, die with Christ. I'm sensing there are things that need to die. It turns out to be a little different, to sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, with tears and interior suffering because of the sufferings that Christ endured for you. If I arrive at that, maybe it will have the same effect--a death to things that don't matter, due to a deeper sense of those that do.
I wondered, "Lord, am I ready to go forward? Do I have the sense of You, the deeper knowledge of You... Am I more ready to follow, am I following You...more readily than before? Help me discern...How has my awareness of you changed? Do I know You more intimately? Do I love You more intensely? Follow more closely?" Then my spiritual director said she has no hesitation about me going forward.
But as I have actually come to the beginning, I find myself truly scared. This portion is somehow supposed to be dark. I've had several thoughts. One, "I will abandon You, like Peter." I do it all the time. In little, daily, every day ways, I prove unfaithful. Like him, sometimes I feel so convinced and committed, but then get lost, turn away in the actual living of it all. And knowing that is still likely to happen...I don't even want to go there. Yet, maybe, whether I can stay with You or not, knowing You through this, Your response to me, even in failure, may just transform me, as it transformed him.
A later thought that brought even more fear yesterday and today: I already have enough trouble on some days, during some weeks, holding back the darkness, fighting to hope. And now the book tells me to "take captive" thoughts of hope and resurrection. What? Where am I supposed to go when things get heavy and hard? These next two weeks are big for the significant choices that will need to be made, preparation for turning responsibilities over to the right people, and big for the course content that needs to be reviewed, and prepared. In addition to these things, I will be "companioning" others in their grief journey--a total of four, three hour sessions, encouraging eleven girls and three guys to talk about their pain and their loss. It will be intense. There will be tears. Usually, You are the One to whom I run when I need to come and pour out all the pain and regain balance after entering into their stories. But if I'm to be grieving with You in Your sorrow--how can I come and add to that? Where will I go then? A little selfish about all this I am--I hold back from entering into Your suffering, because really, all I want is You to be there for mine.
Yes, I am too selfish sometimes, and this is to be transformed into dying to self. Yes, this is also part of what "week 3" is about, and this is one part I really do look forward to--to see You more clearly, as You focus in, love to the end, die for me, die for us. I want to learn from You, Jesus. I want to be like You, Jesus.
With fear and trembling I go forward, into these five weeks, Lord Jesus, please lead me, be my guide, teach me all You want me to learn.