Someone Else’s Burden
I was in a terrible mood. The cool kids were hanging out without me, again. It wasn’t their fault that they hadn’t waited for me that morning - after all, I am not cool.
You should know I was managing to feel isolated while standing in a throng of a million people my age. We were gathered in Toronto for World Youth Day 2002, a Catholic retreat/pilgrimage/revival/camp out/rock concert, so feeling excluded was quite the attitudinal feat.
Seething with frustration, I stepped away to sulk. It was immature and ridiculous, and perhaps hinted at why I had been left out in the first place, but I plopped down on a random patch of asphalt to indulge my bad mood.
There was some litter next to me. Typical! I should pick it up, I guess.
The piece of trash was a slip of paper. It read:
Bear one another‘s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
All my attention had been on me and my uncoolness. In an instant, God had broken into that rubbish: Do you want to be my disciple, or were you hoping to be someone’s god? Stop inventing troubles for yourself. If you don’t know a person with burdens, go find one, and help.
I don’t know who was going around Toronto littering Scripture, but I am grateful for his or her collaboration with Providence. God had already given me His word, and I should have sought it out instead of moping. I should have asked him to turn my water into wine. Luckily for me, God reckoned my presence at World Youth Day as a mustard seed of prayer and left the message strewn at my feet. Blessed are the moody pilgrims, for God will work with the fact that they showed up.
Bonus Ending: Because God kept leading me on good paths despite myself, I ended up married to one of those cool kids who left me behind at WYD, and now we have five kids. I told our eldest this story, and he summed up God’s message as “Grow up!” Ah, now God is speaking to me through saucy eleven year olds...