Give Me Your Burdens

24 Aug

At my mom’s funeral, I wondered how the priest was going to handle the fact that my mom died by suicide. Instead of condemning her to hell, for in Catholicism suicide is often viewed as a sin, he spoke of God’s grace. After mentioning my mother’s innate goodness, he read Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

That scripture has always meant something to me since then, although if truth be told, I often forget about it. Yesterday, it was a passage cited in church during our lecture series on hope. I wasn’t feeling a lot of hope at the moment but the passage started speaking to me. Our brilliant pastor, Ed Noble illuminated things. “God doesn’t say, ‘Come, all you who have it figured out, you who have “it” going on in life. You with no burdens or issues or drama. You who are perfect and not screwed up like the rest of us.’  No. God says, ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden…'”

Some of us have never had a consistent landing place; a soft place to fall; a place where others have our back on a routine basis. As I probe into some of the deepest wounds of my life, I realize that for much of my childhood, adolescence and adulthood, I have struggled alone. Where were the parents to turn to for solace, or the beloved spouse, or the tight extended family/community, always there for you? That certainly has never been my reality. More often than not, it has been me, myself, and I. I’ve figured out how to move myself from point A to point B, how to put bread on the table, how to bury my parents, and how to navigate life’s challenges. I turn the key in the door each night and welcome myself home. But none of us can exist like that without ultimately cracking at some point. My mom did. She couldn’t feel God saying, “I’ve got this. Lean into me.” It took taking her life until she could finally come into the arms of Jesus and hear him say, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden…”

Christ was heavy laden. He certainly didn’t have it easy. Even if you don’t think of him as the son of God, it was no picnic to be crucified by the Romans for basically doing good in the world and being a rebel. But I love this painting I saw recently depicting he and his mother on his way to his death because for a moment it shows Jesus’ and Mary’s roles reversed. In this moment, it is Mary who with her eyes is saying, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden…”

20150816_145541

I am convinced that the only hope there is in this extremely broken world is that which is Divine and of God. There is too much pain, too much isolation, too much fucked up-ness to get by unless you cling to the Light vs. the Dark. We can cry out in the unfairness of it all or we can surrender and rest in the peace He offers us. And then we must in turn, take this same peace and extend it to others. It’s as simple as that. That’s all there is in life. Everything else is a mirage. Spiritual love is the only force of any significance. Because without it, we’re all lost, simply clinging to materialism, ego, an absurd attempt at control, lust, posturing, and grandiosity. “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36.

 

 

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