My Burdens to Share

As I was walking Churchill the Wonder Dog yesterday on our standard 3.5-mile route, a local gardener flagged me down.

“I was just thinking about how I never gave you that cutting I promised you,” she said.

She remembered how weeks earlier I had admired a beautiful bush with purple blooms. It had reminded me of my late mother’s clematis, which was the only plant so beautiful that it nearly made me cry. 

“I can give you a cutting in a plastic bag when you come back around,” she offered.

“Sure! That would be great!” I hugged her appreciatively. A cutting. I could handle a cutting while walking my 65-pound dog, I thought.

When I came back past her house, I saw the plastic bag. It contained the root ball for a tree the size of a young crepe myrtle. The tree was nearly as tall as I am. To some, that’s not saying much. To me, it was cause for panic.

She must have seen my eyes widen. I’ve been told they do that reflexively, as if they’re not big enough already.

“You can carry it under your arm,” she suggested. She put it under my arm for me. “Is it too heavy?”

“No, it’s fine,” I said, too stubborn to admit defeat before I even attempted the remaining 1 1/2-mile trek home.

So I clutched the tree tightly under my free arm but soon found I had to tow my dog, who – despite his size and intellectual prowess – was terrified of the tree. However, within a couple of minutes, I realized he had already calculated an algorithm that would put said tree in his face as soon as the wind buffeted. And it did.

Before long I had an audience. People stopped what they were doing to see this crazy little lady carrying the tree as big as she was while walking a large and infinitely smarter dog. “There’s a story to this,” I would sheepishly explain as I trudged past them.

I got about a half-mile past her house before it dawned on me: I could ask for help. My son was home, and he had a car. I didn’t have to carry the tree against the wind through a neighborhood and then down a major city artery to get back to my subdivision.

We’re like that with our burdens. We tend to think, “This is my burden to bear. I can do this.” But God asks us to cast it all upon Him because, in our smallness, we cannot bear them alone. 

“Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

Not only are we commanded to unload our burdens upon the Lord, but we are also commanded, as imitators of Christ, to take the load off others. We give and take.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

Within another quarter-mile, my son drove up in his newly detailed compact sedan. I pictured him laughing as he drove up to me, but he was not. He was eying the tree and then his car with anything but amusement.

“Where am I going to put this? he asked in disbelief.

“You can put it in your back seat, can’t you?” I offered helpfully. 

A minute or so later, my son drove past me with the tree straddled across his back seat and hanging out the rear window. I laughed. He did not.

I came home to find him frantically cleaning the wet soil off his formerly pristine leather seats. Bearing one another’s burdens is messy business. It takes time, energy, patience and diligence. It involves putting our best interests aside for others. It is part of dying to self and living for Christ.

My husband graciously planted it last night near our lake. As it thrives – and my gardener friend promised it would – I’ll be reminded that I don’t have to bear my burdens alone.

They are my burdens to share.

2 thoughts on “My Burdens to Share