Outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City is a huge statue of Atlas, holding the heavens on his shoulders. If you don’t know the story, here’s a brief overview.
Atlas was a titan, a race who preceded the Greek gods. The titans were big and powerful but had been overcome by the younger, more powerful and certainly more crafty gods. They didn’t like it and tried to overthrow everyone on Mt. Olympus.
When the titan revolt failed, most were thrown in the pit of Tarsus, a deep, dark prison the bowels of the earth by Zeus. Atlas, however, was selected by Zeus to hold up the heavens, to keep them separate from the earth. The story has him keeping the weight of the heavens on his shoulders forever more.
Do It Yourself
It’s a captivating story and one to which a lot of men can relate. Starting in late middle school and growing steadily as we age, guys seem to think we can and need to do it all… by ourselves.
We can solve the problem, score the basket, find the answer, make the money ourselves. Rather than asking for help, we’d rather suffer through and figure it out on our own.
Do that long enough, you’ll start to feel a bit like Atlas – everything on your shoulders and few if any answers.
Christ's Different Idea
It’s an odd thing standing on the front steps of St. Patrick’s looking out at the statue. Christ offers a different path. Bring me your burdens, He says. Love one another. Reach out. Connect.
An incredible man named Dietrich Bonhoeffer talked of Christ being between each of us, being the mediator, the connector. He’s the glue between us all. Here’s the full quote.
What would our lives be like if we were to imagine Christ being physically between each of us? Rather than seeing the other people around us through our own eyes, instead we look through His and see His way.
This simple thought (or is it heart?) experiment will help us answer the WWJD question a bit better. And, instead of carrying the burden ourselves, we’d more than likely start to connect better with others.
Photo by Alex Howell on Unsplash