Sunday, February 13, 2011

On The Mat

I've always loved the story of the paralyzed man whose friends carried him to Jesus.

They knew Jesus was in town, and they knew Jesus was the only chance for their friend to walk again. So they carried him to the house where Jesus was preaching, only to find that there were so many throngs of people inside and surrounding the house that they couldn't get anywhere near their Healer.

So they climbed on the roof, dug a hole through the ceiling, and lowered their paralyzed friend into the room. When Jesus saw the faith of the friends, he forgave the man for his sins and told him to take up his mat and walk.

There's so much in this story, so many themes. Faith. Persistence. Forgiveness. Healing. Friendship.

But in the last six weeks, I've recognized another theme: Heaviness.

I bet the paralyzed man was heavy. "Dead weight" perhaps. He couldn't do anything for himself; we don't know the extent of his paralysis, but some translations refer to him as a paraplegic. His abilities were certainly and severely limited. He could do nothing without the help of his friends.

But they knew what he needed, they scooped up his mat, and they carried him to Jesus. And when the path wasn't easy, direct, or short, they didn't give up. They climbed on the roof, dug a hole (we're not talking about removing a few shingles), and lowered him into the room.

They loved him that much; they believed that deeply in his healing.

I've been thinking about how he felt to lay on that mat, to watch his friends work so hard, believe so much.

I bet his friends were sweaty. Maybe they were breathing hard with exhaustion. Maybe the friends traded places to redistribute the weight. Perhaps they had blisters on their hands.

I wonder about the thoughts of the paralyzed man.

"Oh, my, look at you. Look at all of you. I'm sorry you're so tired. I'm so sorry your hands hurt. I'm so sorry you have blisters. I'm sorry this is so hard. I'm sorry I'm so heavy. I wish I could do something. I wish I could help you... I wish I could help you carry me."

But he couldn't. He couldn't change his situation, he couldn't figure out how to weigh less. He couldn't help his friends. He simply had to let them love him.

But I imagine he prayed for their encouragement, for their rest, for the Lord's abundant blessing on them for their faith on his behalf.

I imagine he said many things to them. Or perhaps he simply thought the words, over and over.

"I'm sorry I'm so heavy. I'm sorry this is so hard. Thank you for carrying me. Thank you for loving me this much."


AKO Team said...

How can every thing you write make me burst into tears? How can you be so bright in the mist of such darkness? Blessed are you, sweet Tricia!

Monica said...

You are loved. You have undoubtedly carried many, and will again. You are wise to know that, for now, the Lord has called others to carry you. They feel no pain of their own, no blisters or weariness. Their joy is in serving the Lord by carrying you and helping to bear your pain. It is a unique blessing for each ~ the carrier and the carried. Rest well, Dear One.

You are always in my heart, often in my prayers. Much love, Monica

The Kennedy Krew said...

Sweet friend - when the weight is distributed among so many, none of us feel burdened! I know I am barely holding you up, since I am 700 miles away, but I pray that my prayers and thoughts bring you encouragement. Tricia, I love you and God has blessed me with a compassion I never knew during this time in your life. Somehow, in God's kingdom...the carrier begins to feel like the carried!! God is so good!!

Rosina said...

Beautifully said. Such truth.

Mo said...

Your story and your amazing ability to articulate your emotions have reached so far and touched so many people. While I'm certain you have your closest friends and family gathered around you to carry your mat, please know that there are throngs of strangers that you have touched standing around them and praying for them as well as you. While I have never met you personally, I have been checking your blog every day and continually praying for you and your boys, and today I will say a special prayer for those that have gathered around you and committed to walk through this with you.

significantnothings said...

Thank you for letting us love you and carry you. We all have faith you will walk again.

Tonya said...

You have such a wonderful gift of expressing your thoughts and feelings! I have been checking your blog daily to see what you will write next. You and your boys have been in my prayers since I learned of you. I have a dear friend who suddenly lost her husband last July. She too, is the mother of 2 young boys. I can't help but think of the similarities between the two of you. I told her about your blog in hopes that she is reading it. I would imagine one would find comfort in knowing someone else is going through the same daily struggles as you. Thank you for allowing God to use you during this time! You are reaching so many!

Allison said...

Precious insight and such tangible weaving of words. Oh how I humbly relate to that man, looking back on periods among a decade of parenting a medically fragile child then transitioning to life without her. Thank you!

Dianna said...

Thank you for sharing a different perspective on that familiar story. I can relate to you so much right now. I have a son with cancer and yes, my friends and God are carrying me right now because I don't have the strength to do it on my own. I pray for you and your precious sons.

Jan Verhoeff said...

This is the niece of a friend singing, but this song came to me at a time that was very difficult. It means a lot to me, and I thought it might help you too.

The song is "You're My Healer" by Gracyne DenBesten and I hope it brings joy to your heart.

Terry said...

i have ALWAYS loved this story too kind were the friends that this man had, that they would take the time and the effort to get him to jesus and how willing the lord was to take him in!
when that man was finally lowered down and his bed was on the floor, he would be looking up and seeing the face of five men who really loved him but the face of that one man would drown out any other and when that one man so filled with love, not only healed him but he forgave him of his sins!
what a wonderful lord we have tricia and what a dear child of his that you are! terry