I had my first real, in person chat with an online friend today, and it was wonderful. It isn't often that I get to have conversations with people older than 2, let alone conversations that don't revolve mainly around mothering of some kind or another, and this man is just a wealth of information, resulting from both his academic background and life experience in general. As the conversation flowed, it came up that we, as Catholics, are not meant to sequester ourselves away in avoidance of the world, but are called to be missionaries to it. In addition, all people need someone that they can feel safe being themselves with, in all of their woundedness and vulnerability, because everyone, at some level, is broken. It got me thinking again, how we are all called to pick up our crosses and follow Christ. What we often seem to overlook, however, is that Christ did not carry his cross alone. Even He had help. Granted, Simon of Cyrene didn't exactly volunteer for the job of assistant cross carrier, but he helped shoulder Christ's burden none the less. So, too, are we called to help each other bear the burdens that we are struggling to bear in life. Often, like Simon, we end up having other peoples issues sort of thrust upon us. How do we handle it? Do we try to wriggle our way out, saying "It isn't my problem?" Or do we decide to will to take what part of the burden that we are able, and help them carry this cross? I don't know what Simon's reaction was, as it doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere, but I do know that a willing heart usually makes a heavy load much more bearable. This is an area I know I need a lot of practice in, but thanks to people like the Janaros, I am not lacking in good examples to follow.