Bearing another's burdens
I sat there at the same round table, 6:27am on Tuesday. I had prepared the night before for our weekly meeting. I came in early and made the pot of coffee that we all need to get the juices flowing for our discussions each week. This morning was a little more difficult to get up due to the daylight-saving time change just two days before. I carefully laid out the note taking guides I had diligently prepared for our discussion on “Bearing Each Other’s Burdens” in the spirit of Galatians 6:2. I then sat there and prayed for clarity and the right words to lead off our discussions.
When I opened my eyes, I realized it was now nearly 6:40am. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “Is today Tuesday or Wednesday? Why am I sitting here by myself? The guys are always here on time.” I felt like it was prom night; I was wearing my tuxedo, but my date did not show up. I checked my phone. Yup, the texts had come in the night before from several of the brothers. It is spring break week; the kids are out of school; vacation plans and won't be able to attend; going to check out a spring training game; were the notes I received. I did not even think about spring break. That term has not been on my radar for years as Garrett, Josh and Matt are well past school days.
So here I was, 6:40am, ready to bear some burdens, with no one to share what is weighing them down. That’s when I heard, “Good morning, it’s another beautiful day in which I’m still breathing.”
“Murph” was coming through the door. He had a slight, slow shuffle with the aid of his walking cane. He was wearing shorts, a navy-blue long-sleeved t-shirt, and a blue and yellow stocking hat with “Taylor University” stitched in yellow letters on each side. He had a scar on his right knee where he accidentally slipped and fell the previous week. He walked over to the coffee pot and filled a travel cup with this morning’s brew. (I made it a little extra strong because Murph likes it that way).
How I love Murph. He’s 87 years old. He lost the love of his life, Barbara, just a few years before. They have three sons with cool nicknames: Tug, Moose and Marlin. Moose was named because he weighed 12lbs at birth and the doctor had to break his shoulder so he could be delivered. Murph named Marlin after his favorite rifle. How cool is that? Murph also had a cool job for over 30 years. He was the fire truck driver on turn three of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was a childhood prodigy violin player who travelled the world playing to big crowds. One day, he actually got in trouble with his teacher when he referred to his instrument as a “Fiddle”. There’s a light that is always shining through Murph’s eyes. He makes one feel at peace immediately when you see him. I always cherish his wisdom and advice, and I love when he tells stories of Barbara, his grandkids and his life in Indiana and Florida.
As we sat there, just the two of us, I apologized for not realizing we were light on attendance for our meeting and that we should have just skipped this week. I pointed to the note taking guide. “Here is what I prepared for today Murph. Too bad no one showed up so we could help them with their burdens.” He smiled and simply said, “Looks like the right two people are here my friend.”
Hearing those words triggered something in me. He asked about my dad, family, ministry, church and other things. I must admit, there are a lot of arrows being fired at me in a difficult season of life with the ministry, my church and family. Since my mother was laid to rest on January 11th, it seems I have been struggling with grief, frustration, communications, self-doubt and some day-to-day activities of life. There have been some developments that, quite frankly, have been hard to handle and be strong through. (Yeah, I have been stressing out! . . . ALOT!) I told him I was just plain tired and have been praying for clarity and relief to be strong for my family and the situations I am experiencing.
Do you ever see someone’s eyes and feel peace around them? Murph’s eyes sparkled as he saw the tear roll down my cheek and I sniffed. Murph could have shared countless stories with me about how he overcame similar situations in life. Some people might give a lecture or try to quote scripture or tell me what I should do. Maybe even say “Come on Trey, snap out of it, get off your butt and get going with life!” Not Murph. He simply smiled and said, “It does look like the right two people are here today, Trey.” I suddenly felt the chains of pain and uncertainty that were binding me, begin to loosen . . . I was reminded of a quote from my friend John Lynch in his book The Cure, “What if it less important that anything ever gets fixed than nothing has to ever be hidden?” I do not need to be fixed or told what to do or be given advice. I just need my pains to be confessed to Jesus and a brother.
I woke up the next morning to an email from my good friend Murph. “Our Lord brought you strongly to my mind, this morning. I’m convinced HE’s ready to answer OUR prayers for wisdom for you regarding what we discussed yesterday and how to communicate that wisdom, so it’s from a higher source . . .” Yes, Murph bore my burdens. He put on a yoke, strapped up next to me and helped me move forward with him, together. Without saying a word, he lightened my load with just a smile, a sparkle in his eye, and then a heartfelt prayer.
Friends. Whose burden will you bear today? It is as simple as just being there, listening and giving a smile. There’s a man who needs to confess his pain to you. You get to hear him, pray for him, and help him heal as you take on that yoke and help him move forward. Most importantly, YOU may be that man that needs to share his burdens to a brother. Let him bear them with you. You will walk bolder and freer in Christ as he helps you heal. THE MPACT WAY.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” – James 5:16