In the book What We Carry, Maya Shanghag Lang recalls a story her mother told about a woman crossing a river carrying her small child. Due to the currents, it is impossible for the woman and child to cross the river together and survive. Does the mother let her baby go so that she can cross safely or does the mother sacrifice her life to let the child live? Maya answers that the woman would sacrifice her life so that the child would live. Her mother states that this answer is incorrect, adding that no one knows the answer until he or she is in the situation. How true this is in life when times are challenging and hard decisions need to be made. This story has stayed with me, teaching me that I cannot make judgements on a person’s decisions or behaviors. We all have crosses to carry. Will I reach out with compassion or judgment?
By Catherine Duenne, OSB
Photo: a wooden cross sitting on top of a hill next to a lake, by Michael Surazhsky on Unsplash