At the Foot of the Cross by Karina Rivera ’17

IMG_2161.JPGI found myself staring down at the destruction before me:

Soul-deep cracks scattered across the terrain.

Just what had happened here?

The jagged edges of this land made it impossible to walk

The dust over the land made it impossible to breathe.

Desolation stirred in me a desire

To bring this place back to life again.


I knelt by the edge of the biggest crack I could find,

One that ran clear across the land,

Fully intending to build a bridge across this fissure.

What were these silly little cracks,

Compared to the laughter, happiness, and love I had on hand?

I told myself joys would be enough.

They had to be enough.

But time and time again,

My bridges proved to be no match for the tremors that ravaged the land.

My bridges were weak, unstable, uneven,

Clearly the work of a child.

With nowhere to run or hide,

All I could do was stand and watch

As the tremors deemed this fissure too wide to breach.


I reasoned that if this fissure could not be traversed,

Then surely it could be filled.

I poured in all of the reason and knowledge I could get my hands on.

And when that didn’t work,

I poured in all the accomplishments, recognition, and acceptance I could obtain.

I scoured every inch of the land for things to fill the void with.

But this fissure ran much deeper than I could fathom.


Many years I walked along aimlessly,

Following the fault lines that lead me nowhere.

Time and time again, I would begin anew,

Firmly believing that I simply hadn’t found the right starting point.

But this land was too broken for any solution I could come up with.

I felt it in my weary bones,

This land was steeped in a hurt, pain, and sorrow that was beyond me.

Frustrated, weary, and at my rope’s end,

I cried out to a God I was wholeheartedly unsure existed.


And that was precisely where He found me.


The One who had traversed this wreckage

As if there was something of worth to be found.

The One who stooped down to meet me

As if there was anything of worth I could offer Him.

The One who lifted me up

As if I were a tender child in His arms. 


He had traversed this desolate land

With one goal in mind:

To lay down a hefty cross

Clear across this ravine.


There, at the edge of the rift

was the first seam.

There, at the base of the bridge, 

He held out an inviting hand

And there, at the foot of the cross,

I took my first steps of faith.


He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3, NIV)


Karina Rivera is a senior concentrating in Public Health.


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