When life is heavy, we lift.
When I scramble for babysitting, last minute, and my life feels overwhelming or heavy. Friends, they help. They make my life, my heart, light.
When a man on the curb is holding a placard that reads Will Work For Food, Have Two Kids, we pull over and we give. If there is time, we give time and groceries. If there isn’t time, we give money. His life is heavy, we lift. We help, as best we’re able, to make things light.
We pack Christmas boxes for children around the world and fill brown bags with extra stuffing and canned vegetables, cranberry sauces and gravy to deliver to local food pantries. When families hurt and their lives are heavy. We lift.
When tsunamis and typhoons devastate, we pack crisis care kits. We donate blood and platelets and money. When asked to remember those who live in villages, who live without hope or food or basic necessities, we donate toward new wells. We buy cows and chickens and send shoes. Our world is heavy. We help, with what we can, to make things lighter.
We, as a family. We, as a community. We, as a church.
This morning, I’m praying for how I can help lift something unliftable. Miles away, my friend is heavy. After months and months of living out the motions and simple acts of life, clipping the nails on a dying hand, bathing a dying body – the body is now, just that. A body. Dying.
In my heart, I am circling around and around this moment, this heaviness in her life. How can I help make it lighter? I bend my knees, I try to find the best grip from the bottom to help pick it up.
But there are some hurts, some weights, for which I am of no earthly good. Not because of lack of effort or love, or because I can’t go and sit and hold her hand, or do any small, simple task to make things easier – but because this is simply a matter that is not of this earth.
Knowledge cannot make this lighter. Knowing that the body that is dying is in little pain, thanks to medicines and comfort measures – this does not make the burden light.
Money cannot make this lighter. You cannot barter with death. There is no placard big enough or curb busy enough to gather donations to buy back a physical life that is at it’s end.
Stuff cannot make this lighter. There is no crisis care kit that I can pack that can make this hurt less hurtful. There are no band-aids for the mourning heart.
This morning, I’m praying for an ultrasound happening in another state, for a baby and a family who don’t know what the future will hold. They don’t know if they’ll hold this baby, or if they do, for how long.
But this is not an unliftable heaviness. For this family, they have hope that extends beyond our bodies, beyond science and medicine and ultrasounds that can only measure the limitations of a body, but not the value of the life therein.
This, this is what I long for, for my friend now and as these days of death and mourning pass. I want for her to have this peace that I have and this hope that I know.
This is what I want for my children and my family, for their eyes to see beyond the veil, and for their hearts to be made light by the faith and hope that lifts what burdens our hands cannot.