Crosses We Bear

I’m not keen on public crosses.

I’m not anti-religion. Short of sects that marginalize or oppress, I think folks should worship how they choose with whatever icons or symbols float their boats. Crosses outside of churches don’t bother me. Or those hanging in private homes. They are like little advertisements: “This is what we believe here.” I try not to swear as often in their presence.

It’s the other crosses I dislike. The big ones. The crosses erected on front lawns or in groups of three along the highway. They read more like pronouncements: “This is what YOU should believe.” It’s not that I think they should be illegal. I just wish people wouldn’t put them up.

We drove past a massive one the other day. Lizzie was the first to see it.

cropped hillside cross

“Mom, look,” she said, pointing to the cross on a nearby hilltop. I was preparing my answer about belief and acceptance, and thinking about how much paring down it needed for a four-year-old when she continued:

“Mom, I think that’s where you go up to heaven.”

I glanced in my rearview mirror and she was smiling.

I don’t believe in foisting my religion onto other people. I don’t like divisive roadside symbols or billboards that threaten me with Hell. Sometimes I’m not even sure I believe in God. But I believe in my kids, in their simple and sweet goodness, and the way that, when I take the time to really listen, they help me interpret the world with hope.



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