I have a whole host of amazing and wonderful people in my life: old friends, new friends, old family, new family, colleagues-become-friends, friends-become-family, and every possible combination in between. One of the aspects of close relationships that I love the most is sharing in my family's and friends' joys and excitements. When a friend is engaged to an awesome guy, doesn't that make you feel happy? When a cousin gets a new opportunity for career advancement or a brother-in-law starts his own business, doesn't their joy travel from their heart right to yours? The same is true on the other hand: if you have good news, doesn't the news seem even better and brighter when you get to share it with someone else? What good is personal joy if it stays locked up within because you have no one to share it with?
I have been learning throughout the years that sharing doesn't stop at joy. Just as much as I love to share in the joys of those people who are close to my heart, I need to be equally available to them to share in their sorrows. That is, after all, the mark of a true friend or a true family member: bearing one another's burdens.
How do you share in someone's sorrows?
Think about them and imagine what it would be like to be experiencing what he/she is experiencing. I've done this, and have often started feeling like sorrow is weighing down on my shoulders. You might be overcome with emotion. That's okay: you are bearing their burdens.
What do you do with this burden? Pray for him, or pray for her, or pray for them. Pray fervently and effectually. Pray whenever your thoughts turn to that person--pray on behalf of that person. God is ever listening.
Just as God listens to our prayers, we ought to listen to others' sorrows. I can't stress this enough. Listen, listen, listen. How can you share someone's burden if you are talking, talking, talking? Think twice before offering advice. Sometimes people just need to unload their burden without having someone tell them what they should do next or what someone else in a similar-but-not-the-same situation did, with positive results. Who are we to suggest that we know someone else's situation so well that we can tell them what to do? Listen to the frustration, the pain, the suffering, and extend a shoulder to lean on. Share the weight.
One of the greatest, most beautiful gifts we can give to our loved ones is to share in their sorrows as much as we share in their joys. What's more, when someone gets through a difficult time, or overcomes a challenging situation, the new energy and lightness that person will experience is an even sweeter joy to behold.
To all my special friends and wonderful family, whom I carry in my heart: please know that I am here for you to share in whatever circumstance that may approach you, whether it be joyful or sorrowful.
To all my readers, and anyone who just happened to stumble upon my blog: I sincerely hope that you are able to take something away from this post and be the shoulder someone close to you may need to lean on.
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."-Galatians 6:2