I hear a language I had not known:
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. . .” Psalm 81:5b-6
Many years ago, My late husband lost his job. The only one he could find was in a city about five hours away. Because our son was a senior in high school, he and I stayed behind. On weekends, my husband would drive up to see us. But a few times, I chose to drive down to be with him if he had to work over the weekend. The first time, I went to the laundry mat for him while he was busy at the office for a few hours.
As I sat there and watched his clothes spin in the dryer, I saw a woman with four small children trying to maneuver a heavy laundry basket brimming with dirty clothes, the two youngest and the glass paneled door. I sprang to my feet in sympathy and opened it for her. She looked astonished that someone would do that. A nice man also came to her rescue, spoke to her in her native language, then took the laundry basket from her and set it on the folding table. She gave me a weak smile and head bob, but wouldn’t make eye contact as she gathered her brood and shuffled them into the laundry mat. I smiled in return, though I am not sure she saw my face. I knew we didn’t speak the same language. She may have not understood my intentions. Was I coming out of the door ? Was she blocking my path? It wasn’t until the man who relieved her of her heavy basket spoke to her that she understood I was only trying to help her.
I closed the door, then turned to fetch husband’s now dry clothes. I hung and folded them then prepared to leave. As I turned to push the door open with my backside, she looked up and nodded again. This time her eyes met mine. We exchanged smiles. I never saw her again. Even though our lives only crossed for a brief moment, she greatly impacted mine.
God showed me how often I was that woman, burdened with a huge basket of things that stressed me, some soiled and stained by my sinful pride. I think that woman was embarrassed by my kindness. She was probably used to doing things herself without any help. How often do I feel that way? I don’t expect my Heavenly Father to come to my rescue. After all He has a universe to manage. I feel unworthy when He does. But His Spirit interprets His actions, and I feel His love for me. My hands let go of the hurt, anger, pride and other dirty things I have been holding onto with such a tight grip. He takes those burdens from me. Suddenly, the heaviness in my soul is lifted and my hands are free to take care of the things I should. My life is more manageable when I let God help me.
Still, each time, I am overwhelmed by His kindness, just like that dear woman with her brood. I can misinterpret His actions and not see them as an effort to reach out to help me. Each time He holds the door open for me to enter into His presence. His Spirit is there to relieve me of my basket and His Son to wash away the stains which have soiled my life and make them white as snow.
Lord, from now on, may I give you my laundry basket each day, so it never piles up and becomes a burden to carry.