To Carry Each Other’s Burdens


A couple of years ago, one of my co-workers from the TV station where I was working, passed away. It seemed very sudden.

We knew he had cancer, but he seemed well, so often it was hard to know to what extent he was sick and suffering. In a matter of months, his condition worsened and he passed away quickly.

Almost two years later, another person at the station was told he only had months to live, and he shared that grave news with everyone who has watched him on-air for the past decade.

His words have stayed with me since I watched him so bravely and so courageously share this devastating piece of news, because in the face of such despair, he proudly proclaimed his trust in God — and he said he had peace about it.

“I believe that I am in God’s hand. I’m at peace and I know that He’s going to take care of the days ahead,” he said. “The goal here is to have the best ones possible.”

A friend shared this video and she also said something that has stayed with me since — that she wishes we did more of this on a smaller level in our own lives; that we shared more of our struggles, more of our sufferings, more of our trials. And if we did, then, that we would allow true intimacy and sharing of our burdens with one another.

I couldn’t say it any better myself.

All of the things we suffer through and struggle with — they all have the potential to isolate us. But there’s another choice, if we only open ourselves up to the ones around us & let them know how we’re doing. We don’t have to go through these things alone. We shouldn’t have to.

I’ve begun to notice lately that the more I open up about how I’m suffering, I’ve often heard a quick reply — “Me too.”

We all have something we may be struggling with — illness, stress, trouble at home. Why don’t we share our burdens, and invite the people we love in? Why don’t we share our struggles with them, and share, also, with them in theirs?

My sister-in-law, Emily, says it well: “If you love another person, their suffering affects you profoundly—whether it’s thoroughly understandable or apparently senseless. Its source? Negligible. You love, and your heart aches to heal wounds. If you do not love a suffering person, their suffering repels you. You commit to rationalizing it, or minimizing it, or both: they’re somehow responsible for their own searing agony, or they’re overreacting, or both.”

I think we can all agree that the world today calls for much more compassion and charity, because it seems like so many more people are suffering – and maybe, for many, we just don’t know it.

A quick, “How are you doing – really?” can make a difference, I think — I hope.

Let’s try to share more — share our burdens, and share in the burdens of our loved ones.

If we cannot alleviate their pain and suffering, at least we can sit with them in the stillness of such suffering and offer them our shoulder to cry on. At least we can let them know — we’re here for you right now, I’m so sorry you’re suffering, I’m going to be here for you, with you, and we’ll get you through this. Hang in there, friend–there is always hope.

St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote (in AD 250) to Pope Cornelius, and said, “Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you; by the love we share we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials.”

[Tweet “Hang in there, friend–there is always hope.”]

photo by Sara Miller

Annie Deddens is a Catholic wife & writer. She works from home on a prayer ministry she runs with her husband, Pray More Novenas, and writes at Catholic Wife, Catholic Life.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    December 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Beautifully written, Annie. There is immense power in accompanying someone in their suffering – it takes authentic vulnerability and humbleness from both parties. I pray we may recognize those loved ones who long to share in our sorrows and carry those burdens we so often hide. Thank you for sharing.
    Peace, Sarah

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