By Jordan Scales
I hate that I empathize.
I hate that when I care
about someone I hurt for them
their pains I bear.
I hate that I care so dang much.
why do I have to feel.
when does anyone care so much
about me. who prays for me to heal?
This poem was written in frustration. A literal cry out to God because I was overwhelmed by carrying the burdens of others. This poem is a two-part realization. Part one is that I felt overwhelmed by the burdens that I bore for my friends, family and community. Galatians 6:2 says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ”. However, I was not carrying those burdens in the best way. I was worrying and stressing about their situation. I was not carrying their burdens the way this verse intended. The problem was that I tried to handle it all myself.
Often, I believe that we compartmentalize God. We give him situations that we think he can “handle” and not all of our situations. The way this verse could mean when carrying each other’s burdens is to empathize, uplift, and uplift. Meaning, it’s okay to feel. It is okay to empathize with friends, family, and community. Second, we should uplift those who are weary. We should encourage, be present, listen, and engage with scripture. However, even when we do empathize, when we do encourage and uplift them, there is still this burden on our hearts for the person and the situation. The last thing, is to uplift. Yes, I know I already said uplift, but this uplift is for that person and situation, AND for you. This uplift is most crucial. Uplift them in prayer. Pray for them consistently instead of worrying about them constantly. This is saying to yourself - I know this situation is not good. I know this person is going through a lot. I acknowledge, empathize and send this prayer to God so that he can work it out in the way he chooses. Essentially, we still care and carry that burden, but we carry it in a healthy way by giving it to God.
The second part of this poem is that I was frustrated because I often was the go-to person for a lot of my family and friends. They felt comfortable letting me know what was going on in their lives. Instead of seeing this quality as a gift, I literally hated this part of me. You can feel the resentment of this gift in the poem. Also, at the time I felt that I did not have a go-to person who could carry my burdens. I felt that I could not pour out my frustrations that I had with life and could not pour out my worry and stress that I had regarding my friends’ and family’s situations. This lack of having a go-to person could really break someone. Social media phrases it, “Check on your strong friend” and I felt that! But also, the bible says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near ” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Black women are known as strong. We take on all that the world throws our way and we are strong for others. We should surround ourselves with those who will encourage us and carry our burdens. The person who you are a go-to for, may not be yours. However, it is important that you are able to have some folks who you can be open and vulnerable with who will healthily carry your burdens. This poem was a cry out from taking on too much and giving God too little. This was also a cry out for a person or group of people to help carry my burdens. I am so glad that God answered this prayer and provided me with amazing friends and community. I pray he does the same for you.
Lord, thank you for the gifts that you give to each of us. Let us be grateful and our actions pleasing to you. Please forgive us for trying to take on too much and not making you Lord of all. Give us discernment Lord when choosing a go-to person and wisdom from the Holy Spirit when someone opens up to us. Let us be a community that uplifts each other and casts our burdens to you. Let us not be anxious, stressed, but let us be prayerful and gracious knowing that you are Alpha and Omega.