Used figuratively, the term lover's cross is an expression used to denote sacrifice on the part of an individual who is half of a couple. Anyone seeking victim status can cling to the lover's crucifix, because many believe that being cast into the role of someone who is oppressed gives them a type of power. Lover's Cross is also the title of a song by Jim Croce, an American singer and song writer, whose career ended prematurely after his death on September 20, 1973. In the song, he explains that he can't hang on the lover's cross for the woman the song addresses. What I like about the song is how he refuses to accept his role as a martyr, and walks away from whoever chose to turn the tables on him. Croce refers to himself as a regular guy, urging his audience to seek a super hero if they really want a man who is willing to take what he couldn't. At 3:05, the song isn't long, the tune is simple, the lyrics aren't dramatic, which makes it poignant to me.

In the past, I bound myself to the lover's cross. I was willing to hang on it, carry it with me, and use it against others instead of recognizing it as a prop used by weak and foolish people. I thought love had to burn, I wanted the scorch of passion, the heat of temptation, and the flames of unsatiated desire to keep me warm. As mankind has learned through the ages, uncontrolled fire is a destructive force, leaving barren fields, choked air, and robbing the earth of green, life giving plants. Several years ago a relative of mine donated a kidney to his daughter after they discovered that she has a disease that attacks her internal organs. Her father was willing to undergo surgery that wasn't covered by insurance. At the cost of pain to himself, he gave up something he was born with that the life of his child might be improved, if it could not be extended. Sacrifice can be a noble undertaking, be smarter than I was; learn that the lover's cross is a cry for attention that, once destroyed, can be used to nourish the unquenchable coals that keep a mature relationship alive and glowing.

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