When the incomprehensible, invisible, ghost like God feels far away from me. When to be faithful means to be oppressed. When I forget to pray for months on end.
I stop in my boots.
I close my eyes.
And I paint an excruciating image in my mind.
I envision someone I love carrying that cross to Skull Hill. I hear their shrieks, the lashes, see the life draining from their eyes, the blood flooding over the earth and I watch, unable to do anything. I see my dad, my mom, my brothers, my sister, my best friends, and sometimes, my dog. To know that it was all my mistakes that drove nails into their wrists and feet. To know that they went their willingly. For me.
I do this because it is easy to think I appreciate what Jesus did without feeling it in my bones. Two thousand years of separation is something. It is a wall. If I am perfectly honest, it is difficult for me, a visual thinker, to imagine my God suffocating.
I remember feeling so guilty for being the only one not weeping in the theater showing of the Passion of the Christ. I remember feeling heartless. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.
I think I didn’t because that was Jim Caveziel and I had seen a hundred other Jesuses dying in a thousand different ways. It rang false, even though for many, it is a powerful portrayal that turns the heart violent inside.
When I envision that day with someone I have touched and kissed and held, I fall completely apart. I lose it. I get angry. I get dark. I am broken apart like shattered glass. I don’t want to see any of that, but I have to. I do this in remembrance of Him. I do this in remembrance of the full and free and flaming love and affection and protection poured out on me.
I think of my loved ones and to me, that’s a holy experience. Because that’s what God lived through. For hours. That was his love gasping for breath. That was his perfect child, the one that called out to Him, asking why oh why he had forsaken Him. The one who stayed silent until the sacrifice was satisfactory even though it broke him into a million pieces.
These souls have been Christ to me in so many ways. They have held me when I cried, led me out of depression, walked humbly and kindly as I journey out of the closet.
And they mean the world to me, just like Jesus does.
Just like Jesus does to God.
Just like I do to Jesus
That is my spiritual practice for today.