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Seven Life Lessons From Crossroads: Lesson Two

July 9, 2018

God gives you challenges in order to help you on your path to holiness.

 

As one might guess, sacrifice is a big part element of Crossroads. As we walk each day, our feet develop blisters. Some even bleed. We get bug bites, rashes from plants, and have close encounters with cars on the road and wild animals. (Rattlesnake convention in western Colorado, I could live the rest my life without ever encountering you again!)

misery

Here we are walking through the heat and humidity of Missouri. We’ve affectionately nicknamed the state “Misery.”

While walking, the weather is hot, and it can get extremely muggy. For the past few weeks, we’ve been walking in a heat index of 100+ degrees each day due to the high temperatures and humidity. I know this is nothing on what the southern walk is experiencing right now (God bless them!), but it has still been pretty miserable. You know it’s bad when you sweat and the weather is so humid that your sweat can’t evaporate! You’re basically walking in your own personal sauna.

I would argue the biggest physical sacrifice we offer up is the lack of sleep. Our morning shift typically leaves camp thirty minutes before sunrise so that we can get to where the afternoon shift left off and say morning prayer together before walking. This means at the beginning of the summer we left camp around 5 am, and now with a later sunrise, around 5:30 am. The afternoon shift picks up walking around 2:00 pm and walks until sunset, so generally they don’t arrive back to camp until at or after 9 pm. By the time we’ve had supper, prayed evening or night prayer, cleaned up after supper, showered, and everyone has their bed materials, it’s late. According to my Fitbit, two weeks ago I was averaging just under four hours of sleep a night and last week I was at four and a half hours. Afternoon shifters get a little more sleep, but not nearly enough. There is a reason we appear exhausted when you see us!

447

Who knew it could already be so humid at 4:47 am in Nebraska? Hello, morning shift!

 

On top of the physical sacrifices that we offer up, there are other sacrifices as well. Living in close community with other people is a blessing, but it can also be a challenge. Just like growing up with siblings, even though you love those you walk with, there are always going to be some habits that bother you and disagreements between members. Learning to accept each other’s differences, compromise, and understand when to let things go is something we all strive to do. As a former Crossroads worker and priest from St. Joseph, Missouri said, one person’s sins will help other people.

The end of Matthew 22 discusses the greatest commandments. After explaining that the first is to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, in verse 39 Jesus says, “The second [commandment] is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When we encounter one another’s sins, we are called to focus on valuing others as we value ourselves. We are challenged to die to ourselves and carry our cross with Jesus.

MemorialStadium

Here you can see the Central Walkers (minus one) relishing their time in Lincoln, Nebraska at Memorial Stadium. Yes, we have our differences, but I love each one of them! We have become a family over the summer.

Being separated from family members, significant others, and friends is a challenge for many Crossroads walkers. With a limited amount of free time, making time for phone calls or video chatting is challenging. Most of these conversations happen late at night before bed, resulting in less sleep. Choosing to sacrifice conversations in favor of more sleep isn’t fun either; it’s important to maintain relationships and not appear to have fallen off the face of the earth.

But here’s the bright side: as we offer up our sufferings, we become more dependent upon God. As we learn to die unto ourselves as we live and work together, we become more Christlike. Yes, it isn’t always fun or easy to suffer, but finding the joy in and recognizing the fruits that come from our suffering is a beautiful part of the Crossroads experience. I pray that each of you are able to join us in carrying our crosses each day, striving to decrease so that He can increase.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

God bless,

Sarah, Central Walk 2018

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