He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
In taking up my cross, I take all my suffering, all my pains, worries, doubts, fears, any troubles, and I unite them to Jesus on the cross. This way, I'm not trying to do it alone; I'm taking my struggles, and acknowledging that I need God's help to overcome them. Can you imagine the power of this surrender when it joins Jesus' suffering on the cross? His ultimate surrender led to life for all. In this way, I'm trusting that He will take care of all my loved ones, so that all I have to do is to enjoy the time that I have to spend with them. I'm letting go. I'm entrusting the people that I hold the most dear to the God who created the world, and who loves them even more than I can possibly imagine. Looking at it like this, I'm not actually giving anything up. I'm actually putting these precious people into the safest place they could possibly be.
One more thought about suffering: during Mass yesterday, the priest described a time when he visited a hospital, and went in to see an old woman there. He was greeted with a radiant face that was beaming up at him. He said, "You're looking very happy today." The woman replied, "I am happy, Father. Today is the 25th anniversary of my suffering."