Apparently, Labor Day weekend is our designated time to steam clean the carpets because we did the same thing last year (http://pevefacefaith.blogspot.com/2011/09/picking-up-slack.html). Bobby also did a lot of cooking and Buddy and I did a lot of laying around trying to come back to life from the garage sale blur. It was perfect for me because quality time is my primary love language. I really wish I had some pictures to share but I'm horrible about stuff like that.
So last night the regular season for the NFL began with a Cowboys win over the Giants. In my world, the beginning of a season doesn't get much better than that. I've been wanting to do a football post, and that is definitely a good springboard for one, but today I've got more important things to say (yes, more important than football).
2 Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. 3 For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. 4 But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.
I think we've probably heard this verse a thousand times. Maybe we even think we know what it means...maybe we actually do know what it means...but to what extent do we actually obey it? If you read it in context it is talking more about enduring the faults of others with mercy, not necessarily the type of burdens that we usually associate with it. But I believe the word 'burdens', when used figuratively, entails a lot of things, including the trials of life that we all go through, and the emotions that go along with them.
Through this journey I have become very aware of how difficult it is to get someone to become concerned with a cause when that particular cause doesn't affect them personally. It's a sad fact, but fact it is. We are much more concerned with things when they are suddenly thrust into our personal bubble, and are no longer just unfortunate situations that happen to "other" people. My whole life I knew about the dangers of drunk driving, and thought it was horrible and selfish and wrong. But it wasn't until it crashed into me, taking the life of a dear friend (and dear friend's daughter), that it became personal to me. I am now much more aware of what an issue it really is.
The same goes for Autism, obviously. My struggle recently has been the frustration of feeling like no one gets it, really. Please hear my heart, and don't take this as me being judgmental, but people can listen to you and hear what you're telling them all day long, but rarely does it become a burden on their own heart. I am just as guilty of this as the next person. I've been so concerned with Joshua that I felt exempt from having to deal with anyone else's problems because, if I'm being honest, they usually feel miniscule and petty in comparison. But that's just not an acceptable attitude to have. We all have burdens and they're all different. None of us are going to walk the same path and therefore we can't compare ours to anyone else's.
I feel like as the church especially, we could all take a look at ourselves and question how much we think and pray and intercede about things that don't have any effect on us personally. How much time do you spend thinking about what you need to tell someone and correct them on, instead of just interceding for them? How much of your time do you spend in prayer over other people instead of yourself and your family? If we want people to share our burdens, then we have to be available to share theirs, even when we're walking through difficult things ourselves. I'm not saying it's wrong to be focused on things that are close to you, just that I wonder what would happen if we put the same passion into things that are a big deal to others. What would happen if you fought someone else's battle with the same intensity you fought your own?
I think of when Jesus said to seek the kingdom of God above all else and He would make sure all of our needs were met (Matthew 6), and how maybe that applies to bearing someone else's burden even above your own. In America especially, we have been conditioned with a "self-preservation" mindset, even in the church. The focus is fixing yourself, when in reality we are here to serve others and simply allow God to be on the throne of our soul (mind, will, emotions).
I am trying to remind myself of this whenever I get caught up in my little family circle. I try to remember to pray for other people and other things besides Joshua and Autism. I try to remember that we are all at different levels of this walk and there's no judgment or condemnation at any stage. And most of all...it's not all about me.