By Christopher Lenart, a parishioner at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Naperville, who will be posting once a month, every month, on this blog, writing about faith-related matters.
As we are going into the last part of Lent, we hear Jesus saying to pick up our cross and follow Him. We wonder what is our cross and sometimes it is really difficult to know what God gave us for our cross. For me, I knew what my cross was at an early age.
I have Cerebral Palsy and am nonverbal since my birth. People tell me that they feel sorry for me. When I hear this, I wonder why they feel sorry for me if God gave me CP for a reason. Yes, having Cerebral Palsy is difficult, but it is a gift too.
When I was born, I was not breathing and the doctor told my parents that I had a 50/50 chance of living. If I did survive, they said that I would be a vegetable. I did survive. Am I a vegetable? I say no. I was given the opportunity to get a master’s degree in software engineering from DePaul University and worked as a programmer analyst for 14 years. The list of accomplishments keeps going. I love my life, but I am not saying it is easy. It is far from that.
In 2009, I lost my job due to the economy, and I was very disappointed because it was really difficult getting this job. I didn’t know what to do because I was living at home with my parents. They were getting old, and my mom had Alzheimer’s. My dad was helping both of us so it was hard for my dad. I knew that I had to move out on my own. Since I needed help with my daily activities, moving out on my own required finding people who could help me and find an accessible place to live.
It took a lot of faith in God to find people who could help me. Finding a place to live was pretty simple compared to finding help because people come and go, so you are always looking for help. One day a person is here, and the next day they might be gone. I think that this is the biggest struggle that I have. Like I said earlier that Cerebral Palsy is my cross, I think we have so many little crosses that are attached to our main cross. Finding help does not happen every day. I can be OK with help for months. Sometimes it is really difficult, and I have to find several people at the same time. This Lent is really difficult because I lost two people. I know God let it happen for a reason, but I still get angry with God because I want my way, not His way. We let our pride take a hold of us not let God give us the help that we need.
What is your cross? It might be cancer or something else. Whatever your cross is, you have to embrace it. I know it is difficult but, when Jesus was about to be crucified, He said not my will be done but Yours to be done. Jesus knew what He was going endure. I don’t know how Jesus survived all of the torture, and it was for all of us.
As we head into the Easter season, let’s remember what Jesus had done for us. We also have to remember that our cross might be for life, so let’s ask God that we need His help to carry our crosses.