A lot can change in a year.
One year ago (tomorrow), on August 27, 2015, I wrote a blog post titled Be(ar)ing Burdens. It was the last blog post that I wrote before Alexander’s life and death. At the time, I was in a season of life in which I was learning a lot about vulnerability and friendship. It was written around the time that Scott and I had decided we were ready to start a family, and at a time when I was also wrestling through some of my own issues with what that meant.
Oh, how little I knew about what the next year would bring.
Here’s a piece of what I wrote on that day, one year ago:
“I am a natural burden-bearer. I want to help people, and pray for them, and walk with them through the usual messes of life. I use an app to track prayer requests and to remind me to pray for certain friends throughout the day and throughout the week. I try to regularly ask folks how I can be praying for them, and what I might be able to do to try to ease their burdens. Because, after all, this is how I can fulfill the law of Christ, right?
And then I find myself on the other side of the equation. Bearing a burden that just seems too heavy to carry on my own. And I know that I need to ask for help, or prayer, or accountability, or just to not be alone in carrying this load.
And all of a sudden, this whole idea of bearing burdens starts to feel a whole lot more like being a burden.”
All of a sudden, this whole idea of bearing burdens starts to feel a whole lot more like being a burden.
And here I am one year later.
The loss of Alexander is a burden that is too heavy to carry on my own. I’ve learned more in the weeks since July 5 about burden bearing than I could have ever imagined when I wrote that post last year.
This morning, as I continued reading Angie Smith’s book, I Will Carry You, I couldn’t help but relate to so much of what she writes in the chapter called “Burden Carriers.” In this chapter, she writes about the ways that people were burden bearers after the loss of their daughter Audrey, but also about her own feelings and responses:
“I am one of those people who never want to let anyone down or feel like I am a burden, so I struggled with feeling like I needed to jump back into certain activities or relationships before I was really ready. Doing even the minimum was so hard on most days that the rest of what I needed to do fell by the wayside. It took me a long time before I was able to put appropriate boundaries up without feeling guilty.” (Smith, I Will Carry You, 169)
So many people have helped to bear our burden in this time of unimaginable grief. We are so blessed to have, as our doctor told us the other day, an army of people walking with us through this time.
People have continued to ask how they can support us in this time, as well as what they can do to support others going through similar losses.
So, over the course of the next
week however long it takes, I plan to write a series of posts on Be(ar)ing Burdens, in which I’ll share the many ways that people have walked with us, extended practical help, and shared in this journey.
As one of my wise friends said to me recently, “Asking for help isn’t being a burden. It’s being (and needing) a friend.” And, in seasons of grief following a loss like ours, we need friends. We need burden bearers to help carry the weight of what we cannot carry alone.