Bear this Burden
I awoke from a dream. I was told to pray for someone and tell them that I had been praying for them. I could not find their number. In searching I found seven other people to pray for and told some of them.
Contacted Kate, she sent me the number and then I slept some more. Then Terrys alarm went off. I woke up. Packed up my bed. Ate a bite and stretched.
I then walked 14 miles with Terry. It was hard. Straight up then straight down. Then straight up again and this time gradually down. Rain, slippery rocks, pavement, mud, animal poo, 50s but felt like 46-48, my shirt got wet with the first rain and I stayed wet till I made it to the hotel. (Thought: have I died and been reborn as a Private in the Army all over again- shake that thought!) The hotel. Warm and welcoming.
Yep, I said hotel. All the Hostels and Pilgrimage type places were booked. It’s like a rich man’s journey on an Artists budget but then y’all know I’m not a “starving artist.” (Be praying about the folks buying paintings when I get back -all good and perfect gifts come from our Father).
At one point I was going down the mountain backwards (see cover picture) and a man stopped me. “Are you ok?” I told him I was just dealing with some pain. That the doctor was pretty sure I had some meniscus damage. And walking backwards down the steep places mitigated the pain a bit. “Can I carry your pack down the mountain?” I said no thank you. He went on to explain that he had meniscus surgery in February. He ask again. I declined. He was so gracious.
I am moved with the significance of that encounter. Are we not supposed to bear one another’s burdens? Isn’t that how we “fulfill the law of Christ?” Of course it is. This bearing of burdens is love.
At the end of the journey. In the hotel and fresh out of the shower. Finally warm, I called Kate. She told me about a situation. I was hot! Not with her but with the person who is abusing her and other people. This person is a truly troubled and hurt. I have gone out of my way to show compassion to this person. And now when I am 4500 miles away they do this stuff to the one I love. In the heat of my own self-esteem and pride I want vengeance -all Beatrix Kiddo Style.
I know. I know. Where is my compassion. Why am I so quick to be angry about a person who clearly is not thinking clearly and thus needs the love of Christ. Was Christ just calling believers to only love believers?
I think he said that we are to love those folks who hate us. We are to pray for those who persecute us. But I’m away and my wife is being attacked- I feel helpless and I’m tired and it was physically my hardest day since the Military. Come on! Help me justify my maladaptive moment. I feel the conviction of the still small voice of the Holy Ghost.
I asked Kate to forgive me. I asked Terry, I’m sure he heard what I said. I asked God to forgive me.
How do I bear the burdens of my enemies? I’m shuffling up and down. This ain’t no vacation. I hurt everywhere. Well, I hurt in so many spots I cannot think of a place that I am not hurting.
How do can I pray for people who attack my beloved wife, my family. How? I had to force myself to pray for that person. Earlier today, I prayed for all the folks in leadership positions. I had to go back and ask in earnest because I realized my heart wasn’t in it. I had to pray for this person again too.
Shuffling along. The burden of the pack. The knee and feet and out of shape body. The dozens of conversations as I pass out Vet Church stickers. Funny how few Pilgrims of The Way even know the story of Christ.
The temptation to quit is so real. And it is like that in all of our lives. Flight or fight! Flight or flight! And Christ says, “Love!” Do not run or be afraid. Put down your sword. Leave the war behind. Enter into the fullness of salvation. The fullness of belief. The fullness of a relationship with The Living God.
The God of compassion and kindness. The God of forgiveness and restoration. The Creator, the Savior, the One who knows all of our faults and pains and weaknesses. The Christ crucified and risen. The Christ who has sent to us the Holy Ghost. May God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost be with y’all and with me.
I don’t know about y’all but I need help with my own burdens. I would love to bear someone else’s but I often feel like my own are weighing me so far down. And I guess it comes back to something Terry said about just taking the next step. Just the next step is the one I have to take right now.
We are going to rest again this Sunday. Next week the mountains are no where near as hard or so they say. I’m starting to think someone with a yellow spray paint can and a bunch of Camino signs is sitting back laughing.
“Oh God, lift us all up and bear our burdens for we cannot!”