How many mats are you carrying?

As the story goes, there was a famous guy in town, Jesus, highly renowned for being a miracle worker.  There were also 4 friends who were in such a state of devotion to an ailing friend, they climbed up on top of a roof with him and his mat in tow, wherein Jesus was teaching and, pried the roof open so as to lower their friend into the room right in the midst of everyone to get the attention he needed.  And their perseverance and destruction of property paid off!  He was healed and a fringe benefit besides the obvious improvement of the man’s quality of life, was not having to carry that mat anymore! (You can read the full story in the New Testament of the Bible, Mark chapter 2)  They set out on a mission and they completed it!   I always wondered if they stayed to repair the roof and what happened to the dynamics of their friendship after he was healed?  But, that part is not important to the point of this extraordinary tale, the friends carried their burden and persevered until they were freed of it in the best possible way, by enabling their friend to no longer need them.   I know someone who has an accountability phrase.  She has a friend ask her periodically, “So, how many mats are you carrying?”  It’s a reminder of how much responsibility we take on sometimes, of other’s burdens.  It is a wonderful quality to be empathetic, loving, helpful and, supportive.  But, are you working toward that day of healing or accomplishment, when that person will be walking on their own, no longer dependent on you?

If the answer is yes, good for you!  If not, what can you do to lighten your load? Note, I did not say abandon the load altogether and, I hope the same visual of the man rolling off the mat into a ditch as his friends gave up, didn’t appear in your head like it just did in mine.  I like the better visual of how it took 4 men to carry just one man, not the other way around.  One person carrying 4 mats would be impossible physically, how would they defer the weight to make it possible? So why do we sometimes assume we can handle so many responsibilities as if they are solely our own?  I am the first one to say get involved, engage, help out, assist, and it will pay you back in so many different ways, just know when to back away and let go of a situation or “mat” as well. It’s a delicate balance.

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