My kid’s school is providing scheduled time slots for us to pray specifically for some church/school families who are battling cancer and other issues.  As I sat in the back of the sanctuary last night I first had to pray that God would settle me down and remove any distractions. I have not been sleeping well, two of my kids have been sick and I am still in the midst of a few personal things that are keeping me quite busy.  I didn’t want to occupy a seat and go through the motions of prayer; not that we do that intentionally but it is so hard to quiet my soul and mind. (Quite frankly, it is hard to “settle in” to a mindset of prayer because we doubt the effectiveness of prayer, don’t we?  But that’s another post for another day). The kids and I stayed and prayed for each person listed.  For one family battling cancer that we know fairly well, I prayed especially fervently and I asked God for a miracle.  Although God doesn’t generally answer prayer via the miraculous, it is what I prayed for in earnest since I know He is fully capable of doing just that. When we left however, I felt as though I had the three of the pews from the sanctuary tied to my back. Cancer does suck.

I felt the weight of the pews most of the evening.  I thought about the things we all think about when someone is facing the unimaginable. I was sad for them and sad that this had to happen.  I asked, ‘why them?’ and I wondered how a person does life facing this.  But in the midst of carrying around the pews last night, life was going on around me. My daughter asked me to take her on a bike ride. My son wanted to play a game (he was grounded from electronics for one night so he was desperate for entertainment). My husband asked me to go to the store with him. And although I felt the weight of the pews of sadness for this dear family, carrying them suddenly made me so grateful. Grateful for the awareness of my sadness because it reminded me to live more intentionally and to become fully present with the people in front of me. Carrying that grief reminded me to take that short bike ride with Faithe, spend time with my husband and to kick my son’s behind in Bananagrams.  The weight of my sadness made me aware that too often I miss opportunities to love or I am so distracted by my to do list that I am forgoing what really matters in life.  Carrying around the weight of sadness for those we know are suffering is hard, but I realized tonight I am thankful to be able to do the lifting for many, many reasons.
“Dear Lord, thank you that I can stand in the gap for friends who are going through really tough things right now (to put it mildly).  Although my temptation is to be crushed and depressed and to ask “why?” under the weight of sadness that I have for them, thank you that instead you want me to LIVE OUT, “what now.”  Thank you for whispering to me lately that you do not want me to go through the motions in anything and that you want me to be fully present with the people who are in front of me at any given time. Thank you that you want me to pray for people who are suffering but rather than be consumed by my grief, you want me to do life differently because of it.  Thank you that loving you and loving people are all that count at the end of the day and at the end of our lives.  Please bless all the families we prayed for today and help them sense your amazing presence in all they are going through.  Help the weight of their pews be lightened today and help me come alongside them to shoulder their burden knowing someday when I need it, someone will help me carry my pew too.  In your Name, Amen.”