“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
My kids and I were at the grocery store last Friday and there was a woman there with two children, one of whom was having a major meltdown. Most, if not all, of our children have experienced that at some point in public…or will. And my mother heart wanted to reach out and help her, but I didn’t. I didn’t know what to do. I may not have glared at her or whispered or given a disproving look like others did, but I didn’t help build her up either. She was exasperated, tired, and the louder her daughter became, the higher her stress level rose. I wish I had been bolder. I wanted to go over and offer to comfort her child for her, but I wasn’t sure if she would accept my help. So I stayed silent. Next time, I pray I at least offer.
My day job is a medical transcriptionist. That’s how I help support our family during this stage in our lives. So…I type a lot about people with medical issues. Like many others, I’m constantly feeling pulled in various directions: doing a great job for my employers, maintaining our home, all while having the physical and emotional reserve my family deserves. Like so many others, more often than I would like I find myself crabbier than usual, rushed, stressed, exhausted, and far from peaceful.
However, this post isn’t about me, my job, or my circumstances. I was typing for my day job this morning and realized something as I was typing. The people I was typing about were just as stressed, rushed, exhausted, and possibly crabby as well. They needed medicine to help them sleep after taking medicine to help them focus. They needed medicine to calm their nerves or medicine to help them cope. They needed medicine for chronic pain or medicine to help them break addictions that had been previously formed for quite possibly other reasons altogether.
That brought me to another thought. These people who are having trouble coping or focusing or sleeping or suffering from anxiety, depression, or something else altogether are the people I come into contact with at the grocery store, church, bank, or a community activity. They’re doing their best to cope with their circumstances in life. What does my interaction with them speak to their hearts? Do they leave an encounter with me feeling more hopeful or do I add to their stress? Do I offer encouragement or help reinforce their belief that society in general just doesn’t care? Being silent sends a message the same way speaking up does, but one I don’t want to send.
My goal is to remember to look up from my own circumstances at those around me and consider their feelings, their needs, their situations. As a Christ follower, I know that God will take care of my feelings, needs, and situations. Since I don’t know where others are at regarding a relationship with my Father, I may be the only example of Jesus they experience. I want to make sure I’m showing the best example, the most loving example of God, possible.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014