3.28.2012

Carrying the Burden

Rarely do I sit in church and take amazing things away from sermons that are completely applicable to my own life. I mean there's always something applicable, but on a Sunday not too long ago, it was completely applicable and I left with food for thought. I also left with Cracker Barrel on the brain, but that's a totally different post.

The general idea was that we are suppose to take up the burdens of our fellow man. And for Christians, it's easy to say "I'll pray for you!" and walk away, keeping the person and their burden at arms length.

It's like a Christian cliche or trendy thing to do.

Not that praying isn't helpful and important if you're the praying type, but often it can be the easy way out. The cop out. A superficial way of making us feel like we're contributing to the cause without actually having to lift a finger or touch someone. Touching people is so dirty, isn't it?

Instead of just offering a superficial word of encouragement, we should see how we can help alleviate the burden, asking how we can help and sometimes just helping without being asked. I know some of you are thinking that you did ask how to help and I rejected you. At the time, I probably felt fine carrying my burden. I'm one of those tough chicks.

It was very evident that day in church that cancer and chemo is my burden right now. And I thought back to all the people who have done what they can to help carry some of my burden for me. No one can take it away, but stepping up to take even the simplest thing off my plate is equivalent to helping me carry this load right now.

I think of all the friends that stepped in with childcare when I was going to 2-3 appointments a week at times. There was a crazy, constant shuffle of children to all parts of town and all sorts of hours. These friends know who they are and they helped carry my burden.

My mother-in-law has moved here from Houston to help when she's needed with the kids. She's carrying a huge chunk of my burden.

I think of the friend who brought dinner over during my third treatment, and how nice it was for my mother-in-law to not have to worry about making dinner for several nights when she had her hands full with the kids. She helped carry my burden.

I stopped by a friend's house to pick up colorful Target knee socks that she had amazingly turned into PICC line covers for my arm. As I was thanking her for her work, she told me she was so glad to have finally found a way to help me. With the colorful and fashionable PICC covers, she had helped to carry my burden.

I can't even count all the cards I've gotten in the mail or emails I've received with the most encouraging messages. To know that someone took the time to write a note and send it reminds me when I'm laying in bed at my worst, that someone really is out there thinking of me or praying for me. And that takes away some of my burden.

And now I'm looking at a calendar not just full of treatment dates, but names of mom after mom from Stroller Strides who has signed up to supply us with a meal during those miserable days when I'm in my chemo coma and eating nausea meds like they're candy. Those moms are going to help carry my burden.

I think of the moms with Mom's Gotta Run who managed to raise OVER $2500 for Chris4Life in my honor. Because of that money, they are going to help carry the burden of many being impacting by colon cancer right now.

I think of Shawna, who was inspired enough to train for the half-marathon and run for Team Livestrong. The money she raised will help carry someone's burden.

We are called by God or humanity (for the non-God thumping types) to help our fellow man. Help a brother when he's down because one day you may be down, too. I'm not soliciting for help (yet), but sharing my appreciation to those who have stepped up beside me to help bear this cross. It has not gone unnoticed and this sermon was just a catalyst to helping me put it in to words.

This is a challenge to I'm putting before myself, as this experience has opened my eyes to the effectiveness of such acts. I pray that my eyes are forever opened to the needs of those around me, and my heart forever willing to taking on their burden in any way I can.

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