No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. Charles Dickens
The thought of adding more burden to my life frightened me. Putting into practice freed me. There will never be a day where I can walk through life and not see a burden that needs bearing. The traffic of daily encounters reveal so many who suffer. Some, in silence. Others are on display to the world as the media brings their pain to our living rooms. Even though everyone knows, they may be bearing their burden alone. We assume they are being cared for. But are they?
We are all frightened by burdens, who wants to carry another’s load? Aren’t our own troubles enough? Won’t our back break under the weight of shouldering more? Will we spiral down? No, I don’t think so.
Our burdens become less when we carry another’s. We become liberated of our own encumbrances and our vision becomes clearer. To know you have lifted the burdens of another, made the road easier, shared the pain-eases our own. Don’t recoil or be afraid of rejection. Though the heavy laden have not asked for help they cry for it when alone. “God help me get through tonight, give me the strength to get through tomorrow.” If you are quiet enough, you can hear them. They are considerate people, the burdened, they don’t want to let you know the weight is too much. You have to look with your eyes and see with your heart. You are thinking of someone right now. You may know them well, or they may slip past you like time. But you see them, right? Even though they think they are invisible.
Break the ice, tell them you know about the burden, and you want some of the weight. Take them out to coffee. Be quiet and let them talk. Send a note with a prayer or a comforting quote, clean their house, make a meal, drop off a care package, give a bonus, a day off. Say hi to someone you pass in the halls. Introduce yourself. Don’t give advice, don’t say anything really, just listen. Take the weight. Your back can take it. Remember to use your knees when you bend, it helps.