Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Allegory of the Crucifix

The first few weeks at Hope College, I wore the crucifix everywhere - even to work out. Then, one day, I took it off. And couldn't find it. A few days later, I found and donned it again. But something strange kept happening. The tiny ring holding the cross to its chain began weakening, bending and slipping from off the chain. I kept repairing it. One evening (sometime in October), as I was preparing to take it off for the night, I noticed that the cross and corpus were no longer on the chain. I examined the floor. I traced my steps throughout the room and the bathroom. It could have fallen anywhere, and I had traveled the length and breadth of the campus in that day. It pricked me deeply to have lost it, not because I attached my faith to a piece of metal around my neck, but because it reminded me of Whose I am and what I am called and enabled to confess. The next week, I would reach up to touch it, to feel the contour and remind myself, only to remember that it was gone - perhaps forever. The thought that perhaps the likeness of our Savior might be lying in the mud on some campus pathway, trampled by the profane feet of the masses, made me ache. But I soon forgot it. It fled my mind as well as my body.

The very last week at Hope, while cleaning up the floor by my desk, I found the crucifix again. It was hidden by various debris and papers from my studies, homework and essays. The sight cheered me, yet caused me a sober moment as well. Thankful to have it returned to my keeping, it occured to me to possibly consider the treatment afforded the crucifix allegorically. It is not hard for me to see a rough parallel between the circumstances of the crucifix and the circumstances of my subjective certainty in the promises of Christ while at Hope.

I look forward to wearing my crucifix again and, God-willing, not losing it either physically or allegorically.

1 comment:

Nat said...

I've had a similar experience. Probably because the crucifix I liked the most at Aquinas was really cheap, and the metal loop was worthless. I replaced it with a bit of wire from my dad's workbench.

I appreciate the allegory, though. As a writer, I often see life in allegorical terms.