A few nights ago, I had a dream. Like most dreams, it was strange, weaving in and out of scenes, switching characters and faces, but a ringing theme throughout the whole story-telling.
I was a child.
I was about the age of 9 and my body was riddled with cancer. I was tired. Tired of being sick. Tired of taking pills. Tired of watching other kids play. And just physically defeated. I was ready to die. I didn’t want to fight any longer. I could hear my parents talking in the other room about how none of the medications were helping and I wasn’t getting any better.
More than anything, this overwhelming feeling of being weighed down by this cancer was bearing down on my little body.
Like most dreams, I talked it over with my husband in the morning. I couldn’t help but feel it was a glimpse of what my daughter, Molly, was feeling when her final days on earth were approaching. Peter and I commented on how looking back at pictures, you can see a switch and the sparkle left her eyes. She was done, worn out, and heavy.
I have been meditating on the verse from Galatians 6:2 that commands us to ” bear one another’s burdens.” That dream woke me up to the thought that once again, so many are out there, heavy, defeated, in need of someone to help them. But like cancer, I have no cure for other illnesses, broken marriages, lost jobs. I often feel helpless and hopeless in my feeble attempt to help carry someone’s heavy load.
But then I remember back to the days when our task ahead to watch our child die was too great to haul. How did we make it through?
By a line of people willing to carry a rock or two.
There were those that brought meals, when I had no energy to cook.
Those that racked our lawn, because it was the last on the priority list.
Babysitters that watched our girls so we could go to doctor appointments, go on dates to keep our marriage strong, or even take a nap.
There were those that generously gave money so that we didn’t need to worry how to pay for the trial in NYC or other expenses that came with being a cancer family.
And of course, there were those that sat with us, cried with us, prayed and poured out their souls with us.
Like a great boulder in the middle of the road, the only way to move it out of the way is by breaking it up into smaller pieces and carrying those off, one by one. Some pieces are large and heavy and some are but pebbles. But all must be removed before we can go forward.
Bearing someone’s burden doesn’t have a uniform fit. What I mean by that is we (or maybe I should say I) often think that since we cannot fix the situation a person is in, then we can do nothing. This of course is not so. There is always something that can be done. We can all carry a pebble or two.
Try this with me.
Put your two pointer fingers on each cheek. Now stretch your mouth out until you feel the muscles in your face contracting. Be sure that your teeth are showing.
This is called a smile. We are all capable of giving one. (Be sure that your eyes smile along with your mouth.)
Let us try one more.
Stretch out your arms. Take two steps forward. Now wrap those arms around the one that is hurting.
This is called a hug. And they often have a greater healing power than anything a pharmaceutical company can spit out. And even better, they are FREE!
I will leave you with this story.
A few weeks ago, I was introduced via technology, to an amazing family that will never know that they touched me so.
The Henrys, though I am sure never desired to be, are the modern-day Job. Their house caught fire and these two sweet parents lost all three children in the fire along with their home on which contained everything they owned. A burden that is by far too heavy for any family to bear alone. But the incredible thing is that they knew this from the get go and they allowed God and others to take bits of this story and carry it.
They have done nothing but give God the glory.
I have thought in the days passed, what can I do? I could donate to help them rebuild what was lost. I could send a note of encouragement. And I of course, will continue to pray for needs, both physical and emotional, as this is only the beginning.
But my unique burden carrying abilities is simply by sharing them with you all so that perhaps YOU can offer financial help, YOU can give words, YOU can pray, and YOU can be used.
Because really in the end, when all the burdens are laid down at the feet of Christ, each one of us carrying a boulder, rock, or pebble here and there, will hear the words of Jesus say, “Well done.”