Stations of the Cross

My text: Let’s aim to talk tomorrow or Sunday afternoon
D’s text: Sounds good. On our way to Stations of the Cross

Immediately, my mind takes me back
to my 10-year old self
wearing my gray and maroon plaid jumper
holding the purple paper booklet
sitting, standing, kneeling
reflecting on the 14-moments
each step described
followed by a real-world connection
accepting the cross to carry
to the top of the hill
meeting people along the way
Veronica, Simon, your own mother
falling three times
ending with nails through flesh
but not the end of this story
as the rest of the story
is celebrated on Easter

Another moment enters my mind
This time my kids are 7 and 10
It’s Spring Break
We drive south to Hilton Head
our friends live on a golf course
It’s suggested after going to church for Stations
to take her 3 and my 2 on a drive through the golf course.
She calls and procures 3 golf carts
Isn’t the course 18 holes long?
Why not take our booklets
Why not stop and prayer a station at each hole
Why not stay outside and do the Stations today
She agreed.

When my 2 were 7 and 10
I taught at the Catholic School
where they attended.
They will both have their own memories
Wearing their navy plaid jumper
Gathering in the school gym during Lent
Holding the booklet to pray the Station responses.
Our Spring Break beginning on Good Friday
A day to go back to Church for the Stations
Their Grandma, raised in DC,
Suggested an outside space to pray the Stations
The Franciscan Monastery
No golf carts but all outside
Tulips and daffoldils and azaleas
Amongst the 14 Stations
Spread out along a winding path
Afterwards we sat and eat a picnic lunch
Of tuna fish sandwishes.

Many places across the years
I have prayed the Stations of the Cross.

9 thoughts on “Stations of the Cross

  1. pfornale says:

    This has a deep spirituality to it. I was raised Catholic…sort of. Then, as an adult, I became active in the parish of the Catholic school where I taught. The Stations were a profound ritual for me. You make an important point here, however, that this is more than mere ritual, and it need not be restricted to the inside of a church. I enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. humbleswede says:

    I confess that I have never participated in this ritual, but I really appreciate the way you’ve layered this through the years, blending the images and the ages and the formats. I think that middle session on the golf course, the least orthodox, has the most power, with the idea that it’s about the spirit and the content more than the formal setting that matters.


  3. franmcveigh says:

    It’s not the facade or location.
    It’s the intent, the purpose, the heart.
    What beautiful connections across time and individuals.
    You are a masterful storyteller and your lines are so effective!


  4. mythmakersunite says:

    What a beautiful way to express that spirituality or rituals don’t have to always happen inside a church. I also like the way you described how you experienced the ritual as a child, then as an adult, and then how your children experienced it. Rituals are living and breathing activities and it’s interesting to see what stays the same and what changes. Great post!


  5. Fran McCrackin says:

    Personally I am always happy when you take a break from your professional writing and write a more personal piece (though you make the professional profoundly personal, too.) So I also love this piece and agree with the above comment or how lovely it is to take us through several generations as well as several locations. You don’t have to be Catholic to feel the beauty of the ritual. And I know the Franciscan Monastery, so I see the Grandma was very wise to suggest their beautiful path with the sculptures.
    It was also effective to give us the background/opening via the simple text exchange, that started the memories rolling…


  6. Beth Sanderson says:

    What a wonderful way to remember how your faith has woven through your life. Your faithfulness found you in different places, with different people, yet…your faith was steadfast. Thank you for sharing!


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