Wistfully looking out of the window, I have to keep forcing myself to pay attention to the task at hand. I’m having a minor surgery in a few days, which has led me to the local Catholic hospital for the pre-op fun. The man across from me is shooting off a barrage of questions at an inhuman speed. He’s perky and energetic, and it seems out-of-place, considering that his questions are whether or not I have a history of cancer, bowel issues, or a sexually transmitted disease.
I continually shake my head, intermittently inserting a “Nope”, when I see it. A crucifix. In this tiny, cubicle-like office, over the curtain drawn doorway, is a wooden crucifix. I smile. The window is no longer my source of distraction; the image of Christ now has my full attention.
Not long ago, I would’ve thought it absurd to have a religious symbol in an office the size of this one. The waiting room, sure…but in each cubicle? Ridiculous. It’s not the hospital; it’s an office building. What a waste of money! People are sick; they don’t want to see Jesus dying on the cross at every turn. That’s so depressing…poor Jesus.
What was truly depressing was my ignorance. I didn’t get it.
I do now. I look up at that symbol of ultimate love, and I’m grinning like a fool. Perky-Hospital-Man probably thinks I’m crazy, which is ok, the jury’s still out on that one anyway. I’m not fearful of my upcoming procedure, nor am I severely ill, yet I find comfort in this image of Christ. I can only imagine what it would mean to someone who is in dire need of uplifting.
It is a simple symbol, one that is partially under appreciated due to its being so readily available. We take its meaning for granted. We think of the sadness of His Passion, of the suffering He endured, of the hatred shown to Him by the misguided. It deeply saddens me to think of His torture. But, I have to remind myself that His sacrifice was a self-sacrifice. “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:18) That’s not quite so sad, is it? That is powerful, as opposed to powerless. Christ is our Redeemer. He is our Savior. His sacrifice was beautiful. His sacrifice was love in action.
“I have been crucified with Christ; yet, I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me…I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:19-20)