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Today You Are Here: Burdens

You cannot escape the way your lives get intertwined with one another in this community. That’s the horrible, beautiful thing about living in a small town. All the news, good and bad, all the sorrows and sadness and hopes and joys, all the jumbled and delightful and broken pieces of each individual life gets thrown in together. Our burdens are not isolated, individually wrapped problems to face one by one. You get them all as a package deal. Your grocer, the barista, the librarian’s son, your studen’t uncle, the girl you pass everyday on your morning run, your neighbor’s friend’s dad’s employee, piled one on top of another. All landing right on top of your already tired heart.

When someone suffers here, we all bear the pain.

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I’ve never been a very good pray-er. I want to be. I would love to be someone whose words and thoughts drift in and out of prayer subconsciously, or to be the one known as a prayer warrior – knees worn from bowing before the throne of God. But it doesn’t come like that for me. So I continue in my walk with the Lord, communicating in stilted phrases, irregular thoughts, awkward words.

And when there’s a tragedy in your community and you are too removed to do anything but pray  bearing this burden seems almost impossible.

I am teaching a sweet kindergartener how to play piano. Every Wednesday she climbs the stairs to my house and knocks on the door bursting with her infectious smile. Yesterday, as we clapped quarter notes and drew half notes, she looked up with urgency. “My friend’s dad’s worker was in a bad accident and we need to pray for him to get better!”

Not a single one of us can get out of the hardships thrust upon this community. No one can escape the pain of this world. No matter how young. Five-year-olds have to bear it right along with the rest of us.

What else can you do but stop the lesson and pray?

Right there, amid the quarter notes and five-note scales, her voice rises in prayer. Honest and trusting and deeply burdened. And then her voice trails off distracted by something else. A minute later we’re back to counting the rhythm of a new song.

What a mixed up, jumbed, mish-mash of a world we live in. One minute we are gathering laundry and sipping our morning coffee and the next thing we know we are facing devastation and incurable sorrow. Here we are, going about the normal business of an ordinary day, and then suddenly we are calling out to the God of the universe for healing, for help, for mercy, for grace.

The throne room is open for us every minute . No intercessor is needed. No priest, no temple, no appointed time. The doors are wide open. The Father says come. Come during your piano lessons, come when the thought jumps into your head, come whenever you remember, come when you hear the news that wreck your world. Come, though it seems haphazard and informal and far from conventional. You are welcome. 

The load is heavy. The concerns are many. The troubles are overwhelming. There are accidents and disasters and political upheaval and aching hearts and unhealed wounds. It is a sobering privilege to help shoulder all this grief, but we will stumble under the weight of it if we do not bring it, time and time again, to the only one who can bear it.

My student’s bright smile returns. She skips down the stairs at the end of the lesson. I watch the lightness return to her burdened heart. Maybe this is what childlike faith looks like. 

{This is a part of my Today You Are Here series. Join me over here for the 31 days of October as we practice being present together. Or enter your email address below to have updates sent directly to your inbox!}

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    thecoffeebeanbrain
    October 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I loved reading this. Anytime and anyplace is always an invitation to be in His presence and pray. Be it in full battle mode of chants and psalms or phrase and awkward words you mentioned. He listens to them all and assures us He’s got everything in control.

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      October 17, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Thanks so much! So glad you stopped by!

  • Reply
    charmaine
    October 15, 2016 at 5:53 am

    This is a great post. Thanks for sharing!

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