Imitate What They Contain, Day 4: Carrying of the Cross

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Editor’s note: This week, we are blessed to share a series of reflections from guest contributor Erin McGruder Helms. Please join us daily for Erin’s inspirational contributions as she reflects upon the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary through the prism of her own life journey. Please join me in praying for Erin and her family, and for mothers everywhere who face health challenges. Lisa

Erin and Cash, Image copyright Erin McGruder Helms, used with permission

Erin and Cash, Image copyright Erin McGruder Helms, used with permission

The past few days, I have touched on how I cherish the Rosary and found parallels in its Mysteries and my journey with cancer. If you missed them, please feel free to read how I related to the firstsecond, and third Sorrowful Mysteries.

The fourth Sorrowful Mystery is the Carrying of the Cross. The fruit is ‘Patience’.

I visualize the suffering Jesus endured, carrying His own heavy cross on the road to Calvary, to the place where He was to be crucified.

Oh how this is a tough one for me. I believe this relates to so much along the journey – the battle with cancer and then living as a survivor. I require patience as I know time is also a part of healing. I need time to ease my mind and to let go of anxiety and fear. I need to remember that I’ve beaten this and truly believe that it won’t recur and it’s not going to metastasize. I need patience as I continue to navigate this journey, figuring out what my mind, body, heart and soul need to maintain health and peace (a whole lot of self-love, self-compassion and self-forgiveness!). My husband, children, family and friends have required patience as this has been a major adjustment to our lives. It took patience after finding the mass, to get through appointments and referrals, ultrasound, biopsy, results. It took patience to meet with doctors and research online and sift through the overwhelming information and opinions. It took patience as I waited for my little one to grow inside me, praying I could have him naturally, but instead being told I needed to move forward with an induction so I could be scanned and staged properly. It took patience as I was induced (without Pitosin!) and my little one took his sweet time to arrive. It took patience dealing with our health insurance company, waiting on approvals and fighting coverage denials. It took patience waiting for my scan results. It took patience as I waited to see how chemo would affect me. It took patience as I waited to see what radiation would do to my body. It took patience as I waited three months post-radiation to begin reconstruction. It took patience between reconstruction surgeries, one in early June, another in late August, and recently an adjustment in December. It takes patience for my scars to fade. It takes patience as I manage lingering side effects from chemo. It takes patience as I figure out how to restore and renew my mind, body, heart and soul. I have felt so depleted after all of this.

And yet, I trust. I trust in our Lord. I trust in this journey. I have learned so much. My family and I continue to receive such graces. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in miracles. I believe that we all have a cross to carry. I am forever grateful for the Simons in our lives who help us carry our crosses, when they are too heavy. I believe faith and trust and surrendering all to our Lord and offering up all to console the heart of Jesus can help make that cross feel a little lighter, a little softer.

Tomorrow I will review the fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion.

Erin McGruder Helms grew up in Northern Virginia before attending the University of Florida, where she earned a Marketing degree in 2000. Upon graduation, she moved to Jacksonville to pursue a career in financial services. Erin is blessed with a loving husband and is grateful now to stay home with her three precious children. She delights in warm weather and outdoor family activities. Surrounded by caring friends and a supportive parish community, Erin enjoys participating in various spiritual growth studies and ministries.

Copyright 2015 Erin McGruder Helms

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