Saturday, 12 April 2014

Sharing The Burden

"Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you..." Psalms 55:22

I have read the Bible, or at least the Protestant version thereof, at least two and possibly three times, cover to cover. My preferred translation is the King James Version. I simply love the poetry of it, the use of language in it. I've also read the Bhagavad Gita as well as the Koran. I've even read some of the Hadith. In each of these books there is wisdom, legend, myth and much to learn. In all of them, there is the reminder that the burdens of life can be lessened through the simple act of sharing them, not just with God but with one another.

I think a lot about these things these days, how life is not a solitary event no matter how much we try to make it that way, how little of life we truly control, how much of it is subject to random change and happenstance. The burdens that we carry are so often those of our own making, where we simply choose to pick up the pain and sorrow of life and make it our own, internalizing it as if there were something holy or divine in suffering solo.

It is the greatest thing I can do for myself, to remember that my burdens are not mine alone. Whether I share them with God or with those around me who love me enough to help me with them, there is no nobility in labouring endlessly, a Sisyphus of modern times, punishing myself with the burdens of care when I could so easily release the stone, allowing it to roll away, leaving it at the bottom of the hill. It is the mere act of sharing that lightens this load, eases this struggle.

It's interesting that one of my greatest fears is dying alone, with no one about me, stranded immobile in a hospital bed, untouched and unloved. If there is any burden in my life, it lies truly in this fear. Yet simply saying it to others, to those around me who love me, that burden of fear is lightened. I do not ask others to take up my yoke, nor do I ask them, as did Admetus, to take my place in death. I simply ask that they hear me and in the telling my burden lightens.

As I read through the Bible, the Gita, the Koran, as I study the myths of the Egyptians and Greeks, as I read of Zoaroaster and the Sumerian pantheon, it becomes more and more apparent to me that so many of our beliefs, so much of what we worship as God comes in the hand of human sharing, in the community of life. It is in our nature to want to share this load; therein lies true honour and compassion.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.... Matthew 11: 28 - 30

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