Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buoyed Up

**Today I'm grateful for the simple joys. For family.**

My heart has been heavy these last few days. I am sad for a dear friend of mine who is grieving a tremendous loss.

And as we cried together over his pain, I felt anew the helplessness that comes when you so want to make something better, but know you are powerless to do so.

Then I heard a quote. “A shared burden is a lighter burden.”
And I wondered if that was true. That if by sharing in our friends burdens—by hearing their grief, by crying with them—one small part of that burden would be lifted.

I’m not sure. I hope so.

But if not, there is also this:
Rockstar left to serve a mission while I was in medical school. The time right after he left was difficult. I was worried about his safety and the two years apart. My friends gathered around me. They rented silly chick flicks and made me care packages. They gave me hugs and listened to my concerns and fears.

Soon after, the first “Lord of The Rings” movie came out. As I watched the end of the movie, I suddenly understood what they were doing.
While Frodo is carrying the ring to its final destination, his friend Sam is trying to support him. But Sam knows that he cannot carry the ring for his friend. That is Frodo’s burden alone. He says to him, “I can’t carry the ring for you…but I can carry you.”

‘That’s it’, I thought. My friends couldn’t make the time pass any faster, and they couldn’t promise me that everything would turn out just the way I wanted it. But they could carry me while I worked through a rough time, and it made a big difference.

When I asked my friend what he needed this week, he said he simply needed a critical mass of people who would be willing to talk every week or so. Just to check on him, to listen to him work through things.

And I could see it: If the grief our loved ones go through is a sea, threatening to overwhelm them, we need to be part of the boat. The thing that buoys them up and keeps them from drowning, while they take their difficult journey.

Grief is a heavy thing. Because of that, I’m grateful that there are forces to ease its weight. I’m grateful for the hope and lift that exists in community. For the Light of Faith. For a belief in eternal things.

Whether it is a patient, a friend, or a loved one, I hope I can find ways to better share burdens and to carry those who carry them.


  1. I'm so sorry. Hopefully there is someone to relieve your grief too, no matter how small it may be in comparison to your friend. And remember, it's after the crowds go away that your friend will need the most buoying up, consistent buoying to keep him a float.

    I admire your strength while Rockstar was on his mission. Jason as shared your story many times. :)

  2. I hate it when people I care about are having a hard time, it's just gut wrenching.

    I was surprised what I learned from grief, mainly that it's just a solitary thing between you and God, but I appreciated anyone, absolutely anyone, that acknowledged my loss in a heartfelt way (as long as it wasn't, "It's for the best, he's in a better place.") and didn't forget about me. And would listen to me share stories or thoughts, even if it was depressing and would ruin a happy moment.

    I think you are totally right. All you can do is share your love with someone and the rest has to be comfort from on high, because that's really the only thing that heals you and gives you peace that you need. I know He has given me so many greater experiences to comfort me than I ever thought possible or that I deserved. To quote my southern Baptist friends, "God is good!"

  3. i know shared burdens are made lighter - and i am so grateful for that!

    it seems so long ago that rockstar left on his mission. crazy how time passes!

  4. This post was totally goose-bump-inducing for me... These last several months I have hit up against one of the biggest trials of my life...that I feel I cannot share or even talk about with the people I have spent so long turning to. I have experienced more solitary suffering than I am accustomed to because I have always had such great friends and family. I see there is a purpose in some of what I am going through in a more isolated way, but I am also amazed by the little gestures that seem to make such a big difference.

  5. Profound thoughts. I loved the Frodo and Sam message. Love you.

  6. I too loved the Frodo and Sam thing. All I know is there is a reason that our Heavenly Father puts us in the path of others when hard times hit, self inflicted or not.

  7. Renae--thanks for your kind words. :) And I want to be conscious of exactly what you said--that it gets harder when the initial rush of support dies down.
    Susie--I love your comment. Hard-won insight.
    Robs--you were definitely part of my boat. :)
    llcall--sent you a message. Sending you love and prayers.
    LW: love you too!
    Lyndsey--miss you and I totally agree.


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