Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Being Real: Carrying each other's burdens

There is something about being real that is hard for me.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  When that smile that you're putting on suddenly becomes the real thing - you feel your eyes relax into a place where true joy is apparent.  Or when you hear the words coming out of your mouth that feel so genuine that you will the words to make a visual imprint on the person you're speaking to.  What you would think would be the easiest place to draw your emotions and words from, that real and authentic part of you, is sometimes the hardest.  At least it is for me. I think we're trained to respond the "right" ways and that becomes the easiest thing to do.  Of course, there is the issue of being vulnerable, too, I suppose, and that's hard...  I digress...

Anyway, I found myself listening to a friend this week whose weight on her shoulders is heavy.  Crushing, really.  I dug deep and every ounce of me wanted to speak Truth into her life that she would believe.  Something that wouldn't be a cliche .  No "it'll be ok" or "God has a plan" statements.   I've said those things before myself, but really, do I know those things to be true?  Do I know that God's plan will bring comfort? I don't.    My heart hurt for her and I wanted her to know that, so that maybe she could realize that I was carrying a little bit of her hurt so she could let go of some of hers.   I imagined myself literally taking handfuls of the heavy pain she was carrying and transferring it over into my arms, into my heart instead.

Suddenly, I realized that was VERY real to me.  Seriously, I have had so many, both through word and deed, be an example of what it is to carry each others burdens the past few years - through miscarriage, surgery (and the enormous mountain of money it took to get there), more surgery and some heartache, too.  Physical burdens... emotional burdens... there are many facets of the burdens that we face daily, isn't there?

It made me want to ask a real question, both for me and well.. for each other.  Have you felt the desire to take away someone's pain?  What about allowing someone to help carry yours?  How has someone meaningfully and purposely "carried your burdens" with you?  What would be the most practical way for someone to do that?  What would be real to you?

For me, honestly, it's words.  I'm a words person.  It's my love language.  I respond to and cherish, am moved by, read and re-read, save and go back to later, the words, encouragement and love that people have served me with.  The real, raw, honest stuff.

What about you?  Would you vulnerably share with me what this might look like to you?  I would love it if you would.   


Angie Hensley said...

Hi Sandra. I may not be one you wanted a response from but this is a wonderful post. There have been many times I've wanted to take the pain away from a friend or wave some sort of magic wand to make it go away completely. In practical terms, for me, that means being there to listen whenever that person needs to talk, sit with them in their tears, and constanly encourage them with prayers and notes filled with supportive words. The greatest thing a friend has done for me to share my burdens, and has happened very recently, is not to give me those pat answers you mentioned. Instead, she is honest in saying she doesn't know what God's plan is or what will happen. She also just lets me cry and doesn't question it or judge me for it. Someone allowing me to be my true, vulnerable, raw self is what is most helpful for me. Love you girl, pray for you and the Mister often.

Jaclyn said...

When a dear friend found out about my intention to shave off my remaining hair, she immediately offered to have a girls' night where all our friends can gather to support me. She didn't offer any cliches, just simply said: This sucks. Let us be there with you.

I know it will be a tough evening, but I'm so grateful God has placed me in the midst of an amazing community of women who go out of their way to lift each other - and me - up.

Francesca said...

Well, I have had an awful 2011. First I terminated a pregnancy, then we had fight with my in laws and then I had a miscarriage. And still I am in pain but I have friend who everyday ask me how I am. We live in 2 different continents and we live in a different time zone. But those 6 hrs are not a barrier. She thinks about me and she lifts my heavy heart sometimes. She reads my words while I type crying but she is there.

I wish I could give back everything she does for me, and I think I do it little by little to people with small problems but I help everybody. I hope it is enough, but sometimes I wish I could do more.

Karol said...

Hi Sandra,
I just found your blog this evening and well..... I like it :) I too am a words person. Life has been brutally unfair but even in the most brutal of times, I have friends....good friends, who never leave my side. These friends have helped to shoulder some of the pain, by simply being there. They have hauled me out of bed when darkness closed in around me. They have walked endless miles in the wind, snow and rain with me because the craziness of it all took my mind from the all consuming pain of my heart. They know that, while I love words, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. And when the tables turn, when one of my friends is the recipeint of life's unfairness, I try to be the sort of friend that they have been to me. I offer myself, to be there no matter what. I offer words of kindness and encouragement, if they come to me. Yet I have also learned that sometimes words are grossly inadequate and those are the times to keep silent, to be silent and allow myself and my friends to simply "BE"

SO glad I found you, I like you already.

Anonymous said...


I, too, find strength in kind words. Words can be so powerful, both positively and negatively. The slightest criticism, even if it to my benefit, can leave me worrying for days about that person's thoughts of me. Words of affirmation and encouragement go such a long way. I would be such a better wife, caretaker, and leader if I remembered this more. Thank you for the reminder.

I also think I thrive on quality time with others. I don't need for someone to offer solutions to my problems. I just need someone to sit with me, love on me, and maybe even take my mind off of the situation.

Life is hard and we need each other to get through it. When God created the world, everything he did was "very good." The first time something "wasn't good" was not when sin entered the world, but when Adam was alone. God recognized his need for companionship and provided.

I hope that I recognize God's provision in my life when it comes to family, friends, and other loved ones that care for me. It's like a spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. It's amazing to see how with the help of technology, that "Net" as Kelle calls it, stretches so far. We are not alone! What a joy to remember, even on our darkest days.

Love to you,

EcoFreek said...

Hi Sandra, came to your blog from Kelle Hampton's. No real comment this time, just wanted to say hi.

Jaclyn said...

Sandra, last night my girl friends shaved my head for me - and I just wanted you to know that you were part of what gave me courage to go through with it. I thought of the beautiful photos you posted of yourself after shaving your head, and I gained strength from *your* strength and beauty.


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