by Pam Risser
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NIV)
Recently, I had the privilege of being the recipient of this “burden bearing” in a number of ways. Our daughter, Amanda, who suffers from Rett Syndrome, was scheduled for a surgical procedure at Hershey Medical Center. Although minor, it did require general anesthesia and at least a one night stay in the hospital. I was carrying a certain level of anxiety as I usually do whenever we face surgeries for her.
The “sister care” that I experienced began on the Sunday before her procedure with the discovery of a note from a sister in our congregation in our church mailbox. It was a sweet note with a cute little lamb on the front and the words “Thinking of you….just as the Shepherd and I love to do.” I have always loved the image of Christ carrying Amanda in his arms as a shepherd carries a lamb, since she cannot walk herself.
The next expression of “sister care” came with a phone call on Tuesday morning, the day before the scheduled procedure. Another sister from the church called to say that she would like to come by after work and pray with us. After a long 9 hour day at work, this dear sister took the time to come by the house before going home to her husband. She not only spoke to me but also directly to Amanda, praying specifically for Amanda and for our peace of mind.
Amanda and I arrived at Hershey Medical Center bright and early for her 7:30am surgery. About an hour into the procedure, I received a text from another sister from church who said she was coming to spend the day with us. This sister took her one day off of work to come and sit with Amanda and I. This helped the day to pass quickly. As we sat by Amanda’s bedside in the recovery room, we were able to use that time to share deeply with one another and strengthen the bonds of our friendship.
The next experience of ‘sister care” happened as I met with my “prayer pod” on the following Saturday afternoon. Sharing together over a chocolate turtle fondue, laughter, stories and incidentals spilled over. Joining hands together in the middle of the table to pray for one another, I felt the encouragement and support of these four women as they prayed with me over the unknown future of caring for a disabled adult child.
The most recent incident of “sister care” came the next day, on Sunday morning. Our congregation was sharing communion together. As the congregation passed to the front to receive the elements of communion, a sister stopped as she passed Amanda’s wheel chair, stroked her hair and leaned over to give her a kiss. This simple act touched this mother’s heart. Even though it wasn’t a caring act directed at me, it touched me more deeply than one that would have been.
So many experiences of “sister care” in a brief window of time. May I never be too busy or pre-occupied with my own burdens to miss the opportunity to help carry another’s.
Used by permission from The Burning Bush, Franklin Conference newsletter.