Shortly after Adam’s death I was given a cross, a ‘hand’ cross, by my sister. It was made by Geoff Rigby from Hunter Friends of L’Arche who has been crafting wooden holding crosses for a number of years. They are made out of Australian native timbers including red cedar, she-oak, mulga, Huon pine and jarrah. Each cross is made by hand and often individual crosses are made for a specific person.
The cross is the universal symbol of the Christian Church. It reminds us that suffering and pain are an inevitable part of life. We don’t have to look for suffering, it seeks us out. Our suffering may be physical or psychological. It leaves its scars and changes who we are.
When someone you love chooses to take their life it’s not as though you are asking to suffer. It just happens and you are forced to deal with it. It can be a lonely place as often the hurt is hidden. The stigma that surrounds suicide inhibits conversation. You live with a ‘secret’ and it weighs you down. You live with shame and it undermines your confidence. You live with uncertainty and it erodes your hope.
I often carry the ‘hand’ cross in my pocket. It fits comfortably into my hand. It reminds me of Adam’s pain, the psychological pain, the pain of not being able to see a future. It speaks to my pain. It reminds me that suffering is for a season, that I am promised a future in God where there are no more tears. This is an irresistible hope.
For more information about these crosses go to http://www.larche.org.au