Together on the Journey

“I don’t know what I’d do without you; I’m so sorry I’m putting you through this!”

The heartfelt cry came between sobs from a depressed wife to her husband. He sat with his arm around her trying to encourage her through the dark valley she was treading but was unable to formulate a decent response. Day after day, he watched her suffer. Nothing he said seemed to penetrate the darkness, and all he could do is “helplessly” walk beside her through this valley.

Can you relate to this couple? Maybe you feel like the one “putting your spouse or friends through something”. Maybe you feel like the “helpless” individual who seems unable to contribute anything valuable to the hurting person or people in your life. What can we learn in predicaments like this?

Your journey is my journey

When we embark on any relationship, we choose to walk the same road as the other person. The two of us meet on the road of life, realize we’re going the same direction and say, “Hey, let’s walk together.” When it rains, we both get wet. When the sun is shining, it shines on both of us. We climb the same mountains and tread the same valleys. We rejoice together, and we weep together (Romans 12:15).

Suppose we’re walking down the road, and I stumble and twist my ankle. What would you do? Would you keep walking and say, “I’m so sorry that happened to you, but I have to keep going”? I would certainly hope not. You would run back, help me up, and let me lean on you as long as I needed to until I could support myself again. Would you feel “put out” because you had to help me? Probably not. You would most likely be glad you were there to offer support.

Helping each other is part of walking together. We don’t run from relationships when one person is in a season of life that requires more of us than we do of them; we run to that person to help carry his/ her burden (Galatians 6:2). Never see yourself as “putting someone through something”. It’s all part of being on the journey together. As Bill Withers put it, “We all need somebody to lean on.”

Walking beside a hurting person is more helpful than you know

When I played basketball in school, someone was bound to get a sprained ankle at some point in the year. When one of my teammates would drop to the floor in pain, I would do the only thing I knew to do -run to his side and offer to let him lean on me while he hobbled off the court. I wasn’t a medical professional. I couldn’t give my teammate a diagnosis and a painkiller; I was limited in what I could do. But I could offer a shoulder to lean on while we were headed back to the locker room or carry his bag back to the bus.

I remember a friend of mine being on crutches for weeks. Everyday at lunch one of us would carry his tray for him. That seems pretty insignificant until you try to carry a lunch tray while on crutches. We couldn’t heal his wound -that would take time -but we could help with the day-to-day tasks that were impeded because of the injury.

When we see a loved one hurting, our longing is to heal the wound and believe that anything less is inconsequential. However, nothing could be further from the truth. You are there day-after-day bearing up the one you love, encouraging that person when the hurt seems unbearable, speaking truth when all he/ she can hear is lies. You are the voice of reason and the one constant among a rollercoaster of emotions. These are what get your loved one through the valley -the supportive shoulder and the tray-carrier.

Remember, we’re together in this journey so “lean on me…for it won’t be long ’til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on” -Bill Withers.

If you know someone who needs to hear this, please share it. God bless you in your journey of growth.

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