The fellowship hall which belongs to one of the two churches next to our house had a new roof put on yesterday. As I was doing yard work they were working under the hot sun with no hope of shade. A truck pulled into the parking lot full of shingles and the driver began unloading. After he finished another man grabbed a bundle of shingles, positioned them on his shoulders and carried them up the ladder to the workers on the roof.
Watching this man and the way he handled the shingles and the ladder you might think he would be broad and muscular but actually, he was smallish in size. However, the way expert way he handled the shingles let you know he’d been doing this type of work for a while.
Impressed with his agility and strength I reflected on the burdens that people carry. Mother Teresa once famously said; “I know God says; ‘He wouldn’t give us more than we could handle.’ I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”
Size, age, education, talent, and all the accolades the world holds dear doesn’t necessarily equal great faith or perseverance. It’s the elderly woman we pass in the grocery store, the young man with the earring in his nose, the middle age woman with a tear in her eye, the man holding the door open for strangers, who carry burdens too heavy for most of us.
They are able to do this not because they are stronger but have been doing it longer.
Too Heavy –
Yesterday I needed to move a pile of garden soil, which was laying on a tarp, from one place in the yard to another. We had saved it for possible recycling but didn’t have to chance to get to it over the winter.
I had an idea to take a rope and run it through the grommets on the tarp. I was hoping was the rope would slide through the grommets, pull the tarp together with the soil inside and be able to slide it across the ground. It didn’t work. The rope pulled the grommets and the tarp together but it didn’t budge. There was too much soil which made it too heavy to move. Instead, one by one the grommets broke free from the tarp and all I had to show for my work was several grommets on the rope with no tarp attached. This meant I had to shovel the dirt into the back of the truck which took a lot of time and energy.
Life can be like my experience with the tarp yesterday. We are weighed down by different things and we’d like to move it, get it out-of-the-way as soon as possible. We look for the quick fix; a book, a seminar, a podcast, a sermon, advice from friends and family. While these may help there are seasons when we’re forced to dig deep, get ourselves dirty and wrestle with our deepest, darkest secrets, sins, weaknesses, hurts and experiences.
Only time, energy and determination will help us remove the heaviest things in our lives which are weighing us down.
Late this morning and early afternoon I weed whacked and push mowed around all the trees in the front yard and back. It may only be June 3rd but it was hot and the sun shone with its full glory and intensity. Our back yard has an uphill grade to it that felt much steeper as the morning turned into noon and I pushed the mower. The weed whacker seemingly gained weight as I hauled it all over the property. Finally, around mid-afternoon I finished and felt such relief putting the equipment away and then sitting on the porch, drenched in sweat, drinking water, wiping my forehead with a towel, basking in the shade of our big Oak tree. I still had a few things to do but for a moment I needed rest.
Finally, around mid-afternoon I finished and felt such relief putting the equipment away and then sitting on the porch, drenched in sweat, drinking water, wiping my forehead with a towel, basking in the shade of our big Oak tree. I still had a few things to do but for a moment I needed rest.
I like the quote (pictured) but the sun can drain us as well as “cast the shadow of our burdens behind us.” Today it was nice to find shade, shelter, rest from the blazing orb in the sky.
There are some seasons where we cast our burdens away and others when we need to stop to catch our breath, replenish our souls and be thankful the sun not only gives light but casts shade.
One of the hardest decisions a father has to make is whether or not to give up the rights to his child(ren). I spoke with someone today who is wrestling with this decision. He is thousands of dollars behind on his child support payments and realizes that every day increases the debt he owes.
He doesn’t make any excuses and understands why most people would look on his fathering skills with disgust. He’s been in and out of jail, rehab and has developed the habit of making the worst possible decisions.
Still, however, there is hope. Hope that he can turn it around and be a good man and a good father. Hope that he can have a relationship with his child. Hope that his life even at such a young age won’t be told with head shakes and frowns but with smiles and sighs of relief.
The piece of paper he’s being offered, to give up parental rights to his child, represents both a way out financially but a resignation that he will never be the dad he needs to be and his child will grow up without knowing their dad.
Decisions. Some come with little or no consequences, others with incredibly heavy burdens and life-altering outcomes.
Carry On –
This afternoon I walked into a local convenience store to grab a few 2 liters of soft drinks for a celebration I was attending. Because I was in a hurry I didn’t grab a grocery cart and figured I would carry the drinks to the check-out. I grabbed the 2 liters and headed to the front. Unfortunately for me one of the lanes was closing and I was stuck awkwardly holding the drinks while those in front of me were purchasing their items. The drinks were getting HEAVY and because of the way I was holding them I was worried about dropping if I tried placing them on the floor. Finally, I was second to next in line and the man being checked out only had a few items. I asked if I could put the drinks on the counter? “Sure,’ he said, ‘no problem.” I did and it was such a relief to put down the drinks, stretch my arms out and breathe an exasperated sigh at my impatience at not grabbing a grocery cart. I checked out and the cashier placed the drinks in a couple of plastic bags which made it easier to carry.
This evening I am thankful for the young man who let me place my burdens down even though it wasn’t my turn and he could have refused. I’m thankful for lessons, over and over, which help me see hurriedness and mindlessness lead to nothing but pain and exhaustion. Lastly, I am thankful for those I’ve met on my path who have taught, are teaching, me to carry burdens in a different, better, healthier way that allows me to keep going and not lose my way or what I treasure.