Lighten the burden

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

At last, the street in front of our office building is getting a makeover. It was a fun street to drive along, if you enjoy navigating around potholes.

On my way to lunch the other day, I noticed one of the workers chipping away with his pick at a small section of the old pavement. I knew he didn't have to do the entire repaving job alone, but for the moment it looked that way. One man. One pick. One very long road ahead of him. What an enormous burden such work would be for just one person.

When I came back from lunch, however, things were looking up. The worker was still there, picking away. It turns out he had been digging up the pavement around an access hole. At that same time, however, coming from the other end of the street was a bulldozer. What a difference the right equipment makes. It was clearing and lifting away loads of old pavement as though it were plowing through butter. The work of improving the street no longer looked like a heavy burden for anyone. Soon that crater-strewn roadway will be much easier for everyone to use.

Maybe you've had times when it appeared you were alone, chipping away at some task. Just getting through all the day's activities may have seemed like too much of a load for one person to carry.

It helps to have a bulldozer. That's one way to characterize the power of Christ when it comes to lifting and clearing away a burdensome load. The Christ, God's power in action, is always here to uplift, strengthen, and heal us. Centuries ago, Jesus, who best expressed Christ, said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

He didn't say he would take away life's responsibilities. But he did offer a way to lighten any sense of burden. "Take my yoke upon you," he explained, "and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart .... For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). No, meekness is not your typical bulldozer approach. And yet meekness is a load-lifter.

Meekness is a powerful spiritual support to inspire and sustain us in whatever we do. This support is always here, of course, because Christ, the spirit of divine Truth and Love, is always here. Meekness clears away anything in our consciousness that would keep us from knowing Christ. The egotism of thinking in terms of "my personal goals, my strength, my determination," tends to weigh us down by closing our eyes and our hearts to the uplifting power of Truth and Love. In a way, egotism tries to accomplish everything on its own, while ignoring what meekness can do for us.

When our day begins with submitting our hearts to God, when we love and obey His law and do His will, the spirit of divine Truth and Love is expressed. Courage, benevolence, patience, grace, and love lift us up and propel us forward. Instead of feeling burdened with the tasks we need to accomplish, we are on top of things, refreshed, underpinned by our love for God and humanity.

"Mortals have only to submit to the law of God, come into sympathy with it, and to let His will be done," writes Mary Baker Eddy in her "Miscellaneous Writings." "This unbroken motion of the law of divine Love gives, to the weary and heavy-laden, rest" (pg. 208).

So what if it appears there's a long stretch of road ahead? Maybe we will meet with some obstruction, some twists and turns, or even a few potholes. More important is the fact that we are not without powerful spiritual help, the right equipment, to keep our journey safe and our burden light. We have the help of Christ, the power of Truth and Love.

I'm reminded of how the book of Isaiah characterizes such power when it comes to making the road a lot easier for us to travel: "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain" (40:4).

What a difference the right equipment makes.

In The Christian Science Journal, published monthly, you can read more on God's load-lightening power.

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