In every Roman Catholic church I have ever visited, there is a crucifix fixed to the wall behind the altar, above the tabernacle.
In my own local church, the crucifix behind the altar is magnificent, and it is among the loveliest I have ever seen, with a substantial figure of Christ on which to fix my eyes.
Once each week, I am situated in my church in full view of this crucifix.
I derive great comfort, when for long periods of time, I gaze at the crucifix and think mostly of my own emotional suffering which I have carried with me in virtual solitude for many years.
Although the crucifix portrays intense suffering, we are taught to consider as Christians that Christ’s passion and death is a precursor to the joy of His resurrection.
My thoughts are calm, and I hold in clear view of the cross my quiet grief for the intense struggle which has punctuated long periods of my life.
I do not ask for anything, I do not complain, I just experience the profound joy of being able to focus on my inner sadness, without experiencing any guilt or hope.
My capacity to do this has come through the love and support and guidance which has been a feature of my experience of being coached for the last seven years.
I have been fortunate to have experienced a wider acceptance of my previously suppressed homosexual identity and those whom I have brought into my confidence have assured me of their love and support.
However, to be able to feel the weight of my inner pain, in the solitude of my own heart has had a profound effect on my growing knowledge of what my suffering actually is, and to experience it is an integral part of who I am.
So beautiful William. What a thing it could be to turn towards our suffering (not to wish it on ourselves) but to know that when it arises and we feel its great weight, we can know it as part of us and our humanness – rather than a wrong doing. It strikes me that there is liberation in ‘having’ our experience rather than being ‘had’ by it. Thank you x