Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
– Galatians 6:2
A late-night fatality revealed to me the burden I was choosing to help carry. My Paramedic partner set up with me all night as sleep couldn’t come while I was processing the trauma and death of an accident scene. It was more than just this call; it was also the reality that we would respond to many of these 911 calls. We would help many, save some lives… and many would also not survive.
My partner couldn’t take that burden away from me, nor fix it so I would not have anything to carry. What my fellow Paramedic did that night was bear the burden with me.
Listening and being with one another when we are carrying heavy loads allows us to experience grace. We are given the space to speak the jumbled and jagged feelings that come with being human. We are heard.
In those moments of sharing, we are freed from the oppressive weight, and it gives us strength to continue the journey. It is not magic; it often does not remove the burden, but it is lighter, and we are no longer alone.
What my EMS partner did for me in that very early season of my Paramedic days, helped me understand that unless I processed this along with the way, I wouldn’t be able to make the 1000’s of more calls that were waiting ahead in my career. I had my own pain being in the middle of others’ trauma and death. I would have to heal as I went along.
When I reported for my next 24 hour shift and opened my locker, I discovered a large paper rolled up and placed inside.
That was 1982 and the poster still hangs where I can see it often enough to not forget this way Christ calls us to be in the world. We need each other, and sometimes that is just listening to the deep of another’s heart. Vulnerability is hard. And it is healing. Listening takes time and it is a form of serving. Healing happens when both are present.
Jesus is the one who removes burdens. We are the ones who carry our loads and are blessed if someone else is there to help us bear the weight. Who is there for you? Don’t hesitate to let them near enough to assist. Jesus promises to help us, and sometimes that promise is fulfilled by the person God places in our path.
Recently a friend created a piece of art for me; it sits on my desk, always in sight. She didn’t know of the gift I’d been given so many years ago. But God knew…and perhaps never wants me to forget.
Lord, thank you for making sure I never forget who I’m called to be on earth. Thank you for the friends who help me bear the heavy loads in my life, and the special ways they are present. Whenever life is hard, please equip us to step into those moments and love as deeply as you love us. You call us to do it more and more. Perhaps it heals us all. Amen.