Carrying a Backpack: “Would someone help me, please?”
Despite warnings that I would surely be murdered, I decided to go forward with the overnight backpack trip that my friend Heidi and I had planned.
To calm my nerves about our big adventure, we took the necessary precautions – left a detailed plan of our route with family, kept aware of our surroundings at all times, packed heat, loaded a first aid kit, and carried enough water to break our backs.
As we were putting our packs together, it didn’t take long to realize that Heidi was much more experienced in the ways of hiking than I was. I felt a little foolish as she put my pack together and then put a third more weight in her pack. At the same time, it was good to have a knowledgeable and strong someone in charge.
We’d both had to work that day and didn’t hit the trail until around 6:30 in the evening. Knowing we’d have to hustle in order to make camp before dark fell, we set out at a good pace – four miles to cover, and the evenings were already getting shorter. By the end of the first mile, I couldn’t talk. Just concentrate on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other, I told myself.
At the end of what we figured must be two miles, Heidi pulled the pack off my back. “Let’s rest for a minute on this log.” I was relieved to see she was out of breath too.
With a short rest, we were able to cover the next mile of uphill terrain; and at last the trail evened out. Less than a mile to go, but my legs didn’t want to move quickly any more.
“You can do it, Laura,” she shouted over her shoulder. “We’ve got to make it before dark.”
“I’m coming,” I huffed back.
“We’ve got to move faster; we don’t want to put that tent up in the dark.”
“How are your feet doing?” My feet, prone to blisters and all other kinds of ailments must surely try the patience of those around me, but she cheerfully inquired anyway in what I’d like to call an act of overt graciousness.
“Great,” I gasped. I’d been reduced to one word at a time.
Wow, her pack is heavier than mine, I thought, yet she’s the one cheering me on. And with her encouragement, I kept moving.
Later, I read Galatians 6:2 where it says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” That passage had always been a little confusing to me because right after that comes verse 5 where it says, “For each one shall bear his own load.”
The whole hiking experience helped snap it all into place for me. Heidi could not physically take on the weight of my pack in addition to her own. I had to keep carrying it because it was my load to bear, but she did help me carry it by encouraging me to move forward with the weight.
In our real day-to-day lives, we may have a heavy burden of our own – even bigger than the ones our friends may carry. Apparently, our own burdens are not an excuse to ignore the afflictions of those around us. We’re told to bear one another’s burdens, and the verse doesn’t say, “Bear one another’s burdens if you don’t have any of your own.”
My own problems are not an excuse to ignore someone else’s need for encouragement. The wonderful upside of this is that often, when we support another believer, the heaviness of our own heartache fades a little as we take the focus off of ourselves.
Are you discouraged and wishing someone would come along side of you and shout words to boost your spirits? Today may be your day to serve instead. Think of one person who needs to receive an email, a card in the mail, some extra prayer, a phone call, or even someone to listen to them for five minutes.
You can be that person today, and just see if it doesn’t help your weary soul in the process.