Being in the midst of the cross you have been given to carry as it is being transformed into a different cross is daunting. I have often told people that no one has just one cross to carry throughout life. Life has a way of throwing all kinds of things at us that we have to deal with, carry if you will, the burdens and crosses given to us. God, thank God literally, is more than willing to help us carry these crosses if we let him.
My cross is morphing. Where it use to be my own molestation at the hands of a priest and all of the tentacles of that molestation reaching into all aspects of my life. At least I knew how to deal with all the damage of that, of course I have often handled it badly. There were times, especially at the beginning, that I did not know what carrying that cross would encompass. At one point I thought that the hierarchy would leap into action to fix this mess. Then after news report after news report on the hierarchies inaction and then even worse their cover-up of the abuse I got angry. I have a great deal of trouble reconciling what was done to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All that keeps playing through my mind is satan is the father of lies. It looks to me like so many people in the Church got on board with lies.
As incredibly frustrating as that still is for me it now takes a back seat to my new cross; Ataxia. So many people have never heard of it. Because of that they do not understand how devastating it can truly be. To say it is a coordination disease is much to simplistic. True my coordination is compromised and progressively getting worse but the question I ask myself is how long can I keep doing what I am doing?
In 2019 I had my very first ambulance ride. I was coming down the steps from the third floor of my condo with a bag of trash in each hand, I will never do that again, and I fell, banged my head, lost my glasses, bled a little and had a huge goose egg develop pretty quickly on my forehead. I was afraid that if I went to sleep I would not wake up. Since the pastor did not answer his door I called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. Also in 2019 I had a TIA. My father had several and his Neurologist said Ataxia contributed to them. If I raise the Eucharist or chalice to high I fall backward. Steps are not my friend nor is any elevation for that matter. I have to sit in the shower. I have to sit to get dressed. I cannot ride a bike. Sometimes just moving will make me loose my balance. Once in the bathroom I moved wrong and fell. All I could think of were the words, “I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor,” from the song ‘Torn’. At least I still have my sense of humor even if I was not, “shamed”, lying on the floor. I could not get up so I crawled to my bedroom and used the bed to pull myself up. Then of course I was exhausted so I laid down.
Sometimes I get tired after doing one thing. For example I am a relatively sloppy person. In the past if I got fed up with my own messiness I would be able to clean it up in a day. No more. After doing one thing I am done. Also when I do fall down all of my strength leaves me and it is really difficult to move and to get in a position where I can get up. A few times Andre, one of my cats, ran over to me after I fell. Isn’t that cute, I thought, he is concerned about me. After the third time he came running over and bit me. My toppling over must have scared him…or he was hungry…I haven’t decided.
So that is my lovely new cross. Just like the molestation their are some people who do not get it. I may walk like I’m drunk but I’m not drunk, I may tire easily doing things so I am limited as to what I can do, Sometimes I flop down to sit. Sometimes I cannot get up from a chair. I dislike the phrase my new normal but that is what it is. So we will see where this new cross leads me as I carry it.