Today I think sacrifice is beautiful. It is Lent and Easter is almost upon us, so I’m assuming that a lot of us have had sacrifice on the mind. Every year around Easter I start really heavily thinking about the torture of carrying a cross. I know that I could talk about every spiritual and metaphorical and heavenly way that Jesus sacrificed himself – and I think those ways are beautiful as well, don’t get me wrong – but I really like to focus on the actual physical act of carrying that cross to Calvary. The physical sacrifice he made for us is the one that we, as human beings, can relate to the most. He was spiritually above us in a way that made him Holy but still human – and our tiny human brains may never be able to fully grasp that. But we have the same bodies that Jesus had. We feel the same pain. That’s why it’s beautiful to me. That’s why all physical sacrifice is so beautiful to me.
The pain and suffering that Jesus went through in his death on the cross was barbaric. Thinking of being suspended by nails in my hands and feet, left to die, makes my stomach turn. I can see the nail breaking my skin and splintering the wood behind my hand as it drove through with a pound of a hammer. That physical pain, although I have never felt it, is within my ability to imagine. He was tortured and made to carry his own cross all for love of us. Because he knew we needed saving. Because he was willing to be that person that did the saving.
When I was little, I used to think that because Jesus knew he would rise it made it easier for him to die. That it was like a secret he had and used to reassure himself and fake it through his death. I don’t think that anymore, but the idea of death was a bit out of my mind’s reach back then. Now I realize that even though he knew he would be back, that doesn’t make dying easy. Death is not easy or pretty or a cover-up for something greater. It’s real and hard and painful. It’s scary. Jesus was human. He was scared and he felt the pain of the nails driving through his hands and feet. His sacrifice for me, for flawed and confused me, is amazing. I have always dreamed of being loved by someone who would die for me. Someone that would go to the greatest lengths, brave their fear, suffer their pain, all for the good of me. I didn’t realize till recently that I already am. I still want that love from a man someday, to marry and start a family with. But knowing that I’m already loved in the way I dream of being loved, there is no greater feeling.
I was thinking of all of this today because I went on a college trip. My mom is sick right now, but she came with me anyway. Nobody else could come on the trip. It was her or nothing. She braved her fever and chills and walked to information sessions with me. She knew I needed her there with me. She knew I was too anxious to brave it alone. She was sick, and I told her that we could stay home, but she insisted. She knew it was important to me. All day I checked her temperature and monitored her well-being. She was upbeat, even though I knew she was exhaused. She made a big physical sacrifice for me today. I thanked her so many times on the way home because I wanted her to know hat I recognized it. That I am so appreciative of her sacrifice. I know what she was doing for me, and I am so blessed to have someone that loves me enough to walk around a college campus when they are sick and want to be in bed. Sacrifice is beautiful and, although I ultimately wish it weren’t even necessary, it fills me with joy to see it in my life. The way we put ourselves out there for the people we find worthy is so brave. The way that I see Jesus’ sacrifice working for me on a daily basis is so intriguing. He really knows how to speak to me. That physical sacrifice of himself on the cross, of my mom on campus, connects us in the most basic and complex ways. It’s beautiful.