My father died February 12, 2022. I left town thinking I would get to him in time to say goodbye, but I encountered obstacles all along the way. The airline didn’t have my plane prepared, and yet we were boarded. This was followed by us all being deplaned as the airplane had some type of problem.
We were sent further down the terminal to board a second plane, all of us hurrying, walking as fast as we could to get to our new boarding gate. Once we arrived at that plane, the same scenario repeated itself. We all crowded into the areas closest to the counter so we could learn what was to happen next.
Hours had gone by, and we were still sitting in our point of origin.
My mother’s texts came through as we waited, urging me to hurry, so that I could get there before my father died of his dementia. But then, the following text said:
“Honey, he’s gone! Just like that!”
Stunned, my eyes filled with tears and my chest felt crushed by the weight of emotion beyond my ability to bear. I turned to the kind young woman beside me. We had been chatting, and now she observed that everything about my countenance and bearing had altered before her eyes.
“Do you need a hug?” she asked.
“Yes! My father just died.”
A kind stranger in an airport gave me a heartfelt hug in the moment that I learned that my father had passed away. He was gone. That was it, as far as this earth was concerned. But yet, God had still used the announcement of this death to show me a model of Christian kindness.
“To bear one another’s burdens is the supreme imitation of Jesus, the ultimate burden-bearer (Romans 15:1-3). He has even gone to the length of taking mankind’s sins (Galatians 1:4) and the curse of the law (3:13) upon himself.”1.
It was a simple thing, this bearing of a burden — a hug, and yet that was my essential need in that moment. I don’t even know her name, but the Lord does. Precious Jesus, please bless this young woman for her kindness. I thanked her profusely as we both hurried on to the next gate indicated by the airline.
Helping another to bear a burden requires humility, gentleness, and a recognition that anyone can become entrapped in a difficult situation or caught up in a tragedy or loss.Helping another to bear a burden requires humility, gentleness, and a recognition that anyone can become entrapped in a difficult situation or caught up in a tragedy or loss. #bgbg2 #Kindness Click To Tweet
The bearing of a burden was undertaken by all our children and our oldest grandson, as they carried my father in his coffin. I felt such gratitude to them all for carrying out this difficult task. They did this with love and dignity.
My mother bore the burden of years of care for my father, these past years the most difficult.
Kindness like this cannot be accomplished by one who thinks he/she is Something, but by one willing to help. In reality all are in need of help, all in need of Christ, even those born again.
The love of one another to lift burdens, approaching one another with gentleness, sharing our goods as others have need, and genuinely caring for other people — these are the marks of those who love Christ, of ones who are attuned to the voice of the Lord.Lifting burdens, approaching one another with gentleness, sharing our goods as others have need, and genuinely caring for other people — these are the marks of those who love Christ. #bgbg2 #Kindness Click To Tweet
Like this kind young woman, my strong and brave mother, and these beloved ones who carried my father’s casket, may we walk in Jesus’ steps.
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- ESV Study Bible, note on Galatians 6:2, Crossway Bibles, Wheaton, IL, 2008.