This photo was taken last year on Good Friday when the community came together to venerate the cross. We deliberately chose a gnarled and real tree–found as driftwood on the beach–because it symbolizes the stark reality of the crucifixion. The ominous challenge of self-denial, taking up our own modern crosses and following after Christ has kept many a weak soul from actually becoming a true disciple. Yet, what else is there to do when we come face-to-face with suffering? The cross comes to all of us, all the time. So, in the end, the attitude or way in which we face and embrace these challenges can bring about a radical change of mind and heart or can lead us down the path of depression and despair. The life of Christ reminds us that on the other side of suffering is resurrection. Ultimately, the struggle ends in an outpouring of Light and Love. Worth it.