Hold Your Cross High

by Taylor Bueker, grade 8

Everyone has a cross to bear, whether it be death, disease, injury, or family problems. What matters most, though, is the way we carry the cross. There are big-hearted souls who bear it willingly. But there are others who think the load is too heavy and just throw it out the window. If we didn’t have our bad days, then we wouldn’t have anything to be grateful for. God did not want us to feel this pain, but the things that hurt us make our relationship stronger with Him in the long run. 

In the summer of 2016, my life was going great. I had friends and a family that loved me. Everyone was happy and healthy. My sister’s birthday was just days away. My mom was preparing dinner for the night and she needed flour. I ran down to my grandparents’ house, since they live rather close to us. I walked into a scene that had only haunted me in my nightmares before that day. My dad, grandma, and uncle were huddled around my grandpa on the floor. While trying to fill his glass up with water, he fell. He was moaning, and the sight terrified my 10-year-old self. They urgently called the ambulance to get him to the hospital. We were informed that his hip was not fixable, and they would have to put in a hip replacement. The next couple of hours of waiting was complete agony. The procedure went smoothly, but afterward he was not healthy enough to come off of the breathing machine. This allowed bacteria to form because he was not using his own lungs. This rapidly developed into pneumonia. 

Several days later, I opened my eyes to see my mom quietly pacing in my room. She slowly sat on the edge of my bed. My mom explained that Grandpa had passed away. I was immediately drowned by the waves of all the good memories we had shared together. I could clearly picture him in my mind. He was relaxing in his favorite sitting chair in our family room, sipping on his Coke, as he thumbed through his westerns. Remembering this made me grow even more sorrowful. In a way, my family reacted the same way as Mary and John reacted when Jesus died on the cross. The death pulled my family and me together as one.

All my prayers became interrogation sessions. I questioned God and why He would just let my grandpa die. Why would He betray me like this? I lost faith. I firmly believed that God did not care and was not watching over me. He did not want anything to do with me. He just did not care. I decided to do the same back to Him. One day, while sitting at home, it came to me. I had forgotten that this was not God’s plan for me. He did not plan for my grandpa’s death. This was my cross to bear, and I was dragging it. After that day, I put my cross high on my shoulders and began wearing it with pride. Without God, I was not a good person, and I knew that I could never let Him leave my life again. Life has become much more bearable since that time in my life. I started smiling and laughing more. 

After my realization, I began wondering about those who were unfortunately never born. Abortion took their lives without their consent. They would never have an opportunity to grow in Christ, to know what it means to carry a cross. Had my great-grandparents decided to abort my grandfather, he would have never been a part of my life. His purpose would have never been fulfilled. If my great-grandparents had decided not to keep him, everything I love about him would be gone. Without him, I would not be here. My grandma would have been married to a man and be living in Springfield, IL. My life as I know it would be completely unrecognizable. Abortion interrupts God’s plans. He makes plans with the best of intentions and love. We are the ones who have to trust in Him. 

My family and I had to suffer, but we are also very grateful for the love we were able to share with Grandpa. Every life is important, and babies who are getting their lives taken away purposely, before they have even started, do not get a chance to change the world. My grandpa did not even have to change the world. He changed my life in many small ways, which made me the person I am today. I carry my cross, knowing that I am here to tell his story. I carry my cross knowing that life is precious and that I am created in God’s image. I carry my cross knowing that struggles are what broke, mended, and created my strong relationship with my Lord.

© 2018 Taylor Bueker. Published with permission.