Update on 100 days in hospital, polarities, crosses, and spiritual direction

I began to blog today without knowing that I was on day 100 of being in the hospital. That’s a lot of days…I miss my wife, my daughter, and my home. Even though they treat me quite well here, I’ve become quite homesick.
By way of a quick update, I still don’t have a permit for renovations (I’m told any day now…), I have three more weeks left here (I move out on May 28), then I move to a supportive transitional housing unit on the west side of Toronto for the summer while my house gets renovated. They will provide outpatient therapy for me here at the hospital while I live there which I am extremely thankful for.

But the reason for my blog is to talk about my last week of spiritual direction training.
It’s been a wonderful 2-year journey.
I have not been able to travel to Niagara Falls for the whole training week like I have done previously, but I have been able to take in the lectures and my small group gatherings via Skype. It’s not the same as being there in person, but I’m thankful to at least be able to do it this way. I also get to travel to Niagara Falls with Erinn on Tuesday for my graduation dinner and ceremony which I’m excited about.
I have once again learned so much already that not only can’t I blog about it, but I can’t even process it all in my own mind.
The one thing that constantly sticks out every single time I do this training is the crucifix. Even while on Skype I can’t take my eyes off of it. It’s right in the corner of my screen. The crucifix is used in Catholic circles, which is why this Protestant rarely sees it.
I’m especially connecting to it this time around due to being in hospital for so long. I’ve had an enormous amount of time (100 days to be exact) to experience and reflect on pain, loss and suffering. So the crucifix, a cross with Jesus body still on it, is really hitting home right now. I’m regularly reminded by the mere site of it that Jesus gets suffering; that Jesus gets me.
Then today during our usual Sunday afternoon Sabbath time while I rolled around aimlessly in my power chair on this beautifully warm spring day, I was reminded of the cross I wear around my neck. It’s a Protestant cross; Jesus isn’t on this one.

So once again I’m very aware that I need both the Catholic and Protestant crosses in my life.

This ongoing debate about whether Catholics or Protestants have a better understanding of the cross is just plain silly. We need them both. I for one need to be regularly reminded that in order for this Jesus thing to make any sense at all, that I need an understanding of both the suffering and the resurrected Jesus; all at the same time.
That is the polarity, the tension, that makes Christianity understandable to me. If I dwell too much on one or the other of these tensions, none of this makes the slightest bit of sense.

I will be forever grateful for this 2-year learning process for many reasons; I’ve made new friends, read lots of books, and absolutely love providing spiritual direction to folks. But perhaps the greatest reason I’m grateful is for learning that I need both the Catholic and Protestant crosses in my life.
I am beginning to truly understand both the suffering and risen Jesus.

For this I really am grateful.

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