I didn’t expect to become inspired while sipping my chai tea latte.
I sat on a small burgundy couch in my favorite local coffee shop reading the introduction of one of my textbooks for the new semester when an elderly woman slowly walked past me using a cane for support. Her husband left the shop to go get the car, and a few minutes later she approached the door to leave the building, so I popped up and got to the door before her, holding it open as she made hew way outside. A smile emerged on her face as she looked up at me and exclaimed, “Oh, thank you, doors are heavy!” I wished her a lovely day and then returned back to my little couch.
Her comment stuck in my mind. I put down my textbook and began reflecting on her statement and why it struck me in such a deep way. To me, this coffee shop door was like most other doors. Sure, I find some doors particularly heavy and surprisingly hard to open, but they generally don’t present any sort of challenge for me. I simply open them and I go through. However, for this delicate woman, the door presented an obstacle that most other people might not think twice about. She could have managed to open it on her own, I’m sure, but she was quite delighted to receive help with something difficult for her to conquer.
Everyone has different things in their life that they find heavy. Things that are easy and mindless for us may be the most difficult trial for someone else, while the things we find challenging for ourselves may be quite simple for someone else. That doesn’t make any of us right or wrong, or better or worse, it just makes us unique humans with different abilities and strengths.
Our individual experience changes over time, and even day-to-day, and depending on our experience, the heaviness we encounter in our life can take many forms. Maybe we carry a spiritual burden, an emotional weight, a mental load, or a physical hindrance. Perhaps we carry a combination of these, or all of them.
Whatever weight we carry with us while we strive to be our best selves, we need not carry it on our own. In one moment of carrying the cross 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ bore all of the burdens of the entire world through the wood upon His shoulders. He walks with us every step of our life, blessing, inspiring, and supporting us. The community we build around us shares even more in carrying our burdens through friendship, prayer, and resources.
In recognizing the places in our own life that feel heavy, we can recognize that every single person around us also has a unique experience of this. Every single person we encounter carries their own combination of burdens and faces things that feel too heavy.
If we open our eyes and heart, we can become aware of the things that might be extra heavy for the people around us, and we can work to help alleviate some of the weight. Even if we feel incapable and unworthy, we can allow Christ to work through us and use our own abilities to reach the places in the world that prove too heavy for others. We can humbly offer ourselves to make a difference in the lives of other people, and humbly accept their help in return. Even Jesus Christ needed help carrying His heavy cross, and Simon of Cyrene came to His side to help make His burden a bit lighter.
Gratefully, we all have different abilities, and what proves heavy for me remains manageable for others. I know that I can reach out for help when I need it, and the people who love me often reach out to me before I even ask. I can also use my strengths to alleviate some of the burden for others, which helps spread love and joy throughout the world. Every act of service makes an impact, and nothing is too simple. Opening a door might seem small to us, but to someone else it might mean so much more.
In Joy, Monica
Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.