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Why Friends?—To share the burden

Recently I dropped my bundle and I was a bit of a disaster! On one particular day when quite unwell I had 'A Woman of Influence' zoom meeting coming up for our wonderful gala, that’s coming up on 10 September in Hoppers Crossing (for details, see 'A Woman of Influence' on Facebook). There am I-unwell with another meeting before our gala zoom, so I rang our event coordinator and said 'I am happy to start the zoom and I will be there in body but I am sorry I don't think I can run the meeting, can you help please?’ The team just rallied, even though the meeting for me was a bit of a blur. I had to let go of my pride, that Peta is chief coach and know-it-all.

When this happened, it reminded me of one of my clients, who some years ago was widowed whilst I was coaching her and she was overwhelmed with the tasks that she had to complete. Paperwork, items and clothes to be sorted, things that needed doing around the house, too much and too much grief to be able to think. Her friends were saying to her 'let me know if there’s anything I can do', so together, we created a list of things that needed to be done so when well-meaning friends who really wanted to help offered their help, she was able to say ‘I have a list’. The friends who felt helpless with hands tied because they didn’t know how to help or what to say were suddenly able to express their love for her and their care by doing jobs around the house. There were men moving this, changing that, fixing things, organising the papers and she had people who were doing stuff for her. The moral here? Sometimes we just need to ask.

In Galatians 6 verses 2 & 5, the word burden is mentioned but with two distinctly different meanings. In verse two we are told to ‘bear one another’s burdens’ and the word there in the Greek means ‘to be down or to go down under a heavy weight’. However, in verse 5 it says ‘each one is to bear his own load’ or burden and this Greek word means the assigned task that we are built to carry. So, there’s a load we are meant to carry and there’s a burden that’s too heavy or weighty for us to bear alone. Friends are therefore to help each other with the burdens of life, too difficult to carry on our own. We can have friends to help with those burdens that are too heavy and for the loads, well we are assigned to carry those. At times they might feel too heavy but they are there for us to grow and mature.

There’s a lovely saying from the 11th century which is: 'a friend in need is a friend indeed'. I believe this means to be a burden sharer and to ask others for help when we need our burden shared. It’s good for our health to have friends walking alongside of us. I’ve noticed the difference in my mother who has dementia and is in a nursing home. She is more settled since she’s developed a group of friends (about three or four women) that get along well. And when she’s out of her room or she’s sitting in the lounge with them, they have a bit of a laugh and she’s just happier because she’s got people that she can call friends.

I guess my challenge is this: Can you ask your friends to help you with your burdens? Are you able, like me, to put away the pride, the 'I can cope,' the 'I can do this by myself?' Perhaps your friends would feel needed and would love to help you. Also there may be someone you could ask: ‘how are you?’ ‘Can I help in any way?' And in that way, share their burden.

We are blessed to have a friend in Jesus. In Matthew 11:28, He tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened, to get rest from Him. And that I think says it all!