Saturday, July 09, 2011

Bear One Another's Burdens

Is there a finite amount of suffering, like there are groceries or library books or moving boxes?

Sometimes it almost seems like someone can take the weight off another person. When there is grief and sorrow and fear, that doesn't seem like it is something that can be shared, that could be divided into separate loads. But sometimes (whether I'm the one weighed down, or the one lifting the burden) it feels like one person can take on part of it for another -- just as much as if I were to offer to carry half your whoppin' stack of library books to your car -- just as much as I dread carrying in 12 heavy bags of groceries and am relieved to have three people run out of the house to help with the lugging.

But grief is not a bag of groceries. Sorrow and worry are not like an apartment full of moving boxes. Nevertheless, there seems to be some weird sort of cosmic reality that one person's load can be lightened and another's weighed down as we bear one another's burdens.


  1. Yeah it's funny how that burden can be shared, even if it isn't for too long it helps when someone is willing to sit with you and carry that burden for awhile... doesn't seem quite as heavy.

  2. Yes. This is so true. I wonder if part of the burden lifting is the affirmation that comes from having someone say, "It is understandable that you are troubled about this." Sometimes we can beat ourselves up for feeling the way we do. We shouldn't let the thing, whatever it is, get us down or make us sad or affect our functioning. And that adds an extra burden to the thing that was bothering us in the first place. To simply have someone nod with understanding and say, "I would feel that way too if I were you" can ease the guilt we have about how we are reacting to or handling the burden. Don't know if this makes sense--just a thought I had upon reading your post.

  3. I agree with you, Cheryl and Cassie, but what I'm referring to is not just when talking to another person or being with another person. I don't know how to express it, but I'm talking about something more tangible than that, and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with time spent together (although it may).

  4. I'm thinking it's connected to the reality of our corporate life. We aren't individual believers, but a body, connected in and through and with Christ. That is a real, living connection, and affects us bodily.