My niece and nephews gathered around me with wide eyes, waiting to see what mysterious “treat” I was about to unearth from the depths of my purse. Knowing there would be some waiting around at this family wedding, and knowing how hard waiting is for kids, I came prepared. With color changing putty. 3 sets of hands reached to take possession of the magical substance as soon as it became visible. I quickly informed them that there was enough to break it into 3 pieces and- wait for it- share. Can you hear the collective groan from kids everywhere?
Later in the evening, my niece Zoe, snuck some mixed nuts from my plate. She gave me her orneriest grin as I gave her a hard time. I noticed she was totally find with the idea of sharing in that moment. As long as I was the one doing the sharing part.
But truthfully? I didn’t mind. Because I love her. It’s a joy for me to share good things with her. And when the time comes for her to face hard things? It will be my joy to share the weight of those things as well. It’s a different kind of joy. One that comes from being a part of the struggle, and seeing someone through to the other side. When we walk through these moments together, burdens can become surprise gifts. And I’m not talking color changing putty. I’m talking deeper relationships, with God and each other. I’m talking about the growth of faith, hope, and love.
The other side of this I sometimes forget? When I avoid sharing my burden with someone else because I don’t want them to be, well, burdened? I might be robbing them of a gift God wants them to experience as well. In the end? We are all being carried, by the one who “daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19). It’s only when we allow Him to carry us that we will have the strength to share in each other’s burdens.
“Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2