Picture me grating the chocolate bar onto a cutting mat. Then picture me moving my arms to pick up the cutting mat, to put the chocolate into the mixing bowl. Then picture the static causing the shavings to rise a full foot in the air, crawling up my arms, clinging to the countertop, the cupboards, everywhere. If I make even the slightest movement the static makes them fly higher and farther. Then picture me with the giggles –standing still for five minutes trying to figure out what in the world to do next.
Relationships are like that. We start out with people, and they seem like they come in a nice tidy wrapper, but when we start getting to know them the stuff in their lives develops a static charge, and pretty soon we’ve got their lives all over us.
Galatians 6:2 says “Carry each other’s burdens.” Celebrations, divorces, deep hurts, stress, questions, adventures, loneliness, bad choices and bad consequences.
Paul commands us to let people’s lives cling to ours.
It’s messy. To be honest, today I feel overwhelmed and hardly know what to do. Messy lives all over me. I feel inadequate to be of any use to all these people I care about. I don’t know when to hug them and when to challenge them. Don’t know when to just listen and when to speak up. I’m up to my neck in people I love, and what happens in their lives is deeply affecting my heart today.
What can I do? How can I carry burdens when I don’t even understand some of them? How can I be a carrier when I feel so weak and flawed most of the time?
It reminds me of my 14-year-old son who sits on the couch at night and says, “Mom, carry me to bed.” And we laugh our heads off as I try to scoop my arms under his huge frame and make a hilarious attempt to lift him. Carrying the burdens of others seems impossible sometimes.
But there in Scripture sits the command to do it. Get involved in people’s lives. Love them enough to find out what their burdens are. Don’t just stand there –try to help, even if you mess up sometimes.
I still make that cookie recipe, because it’s worth it. Relationships are like that.