Back a number of years ago, I undertook one of the toughest hiking experiences I have ever done. It was a 13-mile hike down into the Grand Canyon. The trails were steep, to stay the least, and most were quite narrow as we made the descent downward, so I knew the ascent up was gonna be a 'bugger'. I was a lot younger then, and a whole lot dumber! We packed full packs, small tent, and sleeping bags, along with lots of water because there was no fresh water at the base of the canyon. On the way down, I was too 'prideful' to admit that pack was heavier than heavy! I just took the weight upon my shoulders and plodded along. It was exhausting and my body felt the toll at the bottom of that trail. As we settled in for the night, I remembered looking over at those who were along on the hike and declaring firmly that I was hiring a mule to take my pack up to the top on the way out! Why? I learned there is value in having someone else bear my burdens at times!
Carry one another’s heavy loads. If you do, you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
I lost both toenails on my big toes just because the steepness of the descent down into that canyon, combined with significant weight I was carrying on my back as I made that descent caused significant pressure to build up as I repeatedly dug my feet in for footing. It became painfully obvious to me that I was not a 'fit' pack mule! There are a whole lot of burdens we carry in life that are just way too heavy for us to carry and/or the course upon which we are carrying them is very challenging for us. In those times, are we going to be found too 'stubborn' to admit we need help in carrying them? If you were like me all those years ago, you might be answering in the affirmative to the 'stubbornness' part! Do you know what I realized - I was as stubborn as a mule and acting like one, too!
In the last days of mom's life, I found the burden significant. The work of keeping her clean, dry, comfortable, and 'pampered' in those last couple of weeks was astronomically hard. As she became bedridden those last couple of weeks, I needed help. Do you know what my first inclination was? To just buck up and get it done. It wasn't to admit I needed the help. All these years later, I was still kind 'mulish' in my attitude. Those thoughts of "I can manage this" didn't last more than about an hour. God's still small voice kept prompting me to lay that burden down and let others help me carry it. My sister came alongside for a week, my BFF was there that last week, as was my daughter. They all helped me bathe her, change her linens, keep her dry and smelling fresh, and even helped me wash her hair.
What I appreciated most was the time it left me to just sit with her and enjoy her. I read scripture to her, sang her some songs, and just 'kept company' with mom. If I hadn't of asked for the help with those harder tasks, I wouldn't have had that time to do that. There are times when we just need to lay down our stubbornness and admit we aren't going to be able to carry our burdens alone. The sooner we realize that, the better off we will be! We aren't meant to be 'pack mules' in life - so we need to stop acting like we are! Just sayin!
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