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Carrying Each Other’s Burdens

August 11, 2022

Another Way for week of August 5, 2022

Carrying Each Other’s Burdens

I kept squeezing back emotional tears. I was moved that my husband wanted to help with a major shipment of clean bottled water, toilet paper, paper towels, Clorox and the like for the folks experiencing the devastating flooding in Kentucky. The waters are receding from the banks of creeks like Troublesome Creek where I lived for a year, but the cleanup will take a long time. I had worked as a church volunteer in Appalachia near Hazard, Kentucky as a 19-year-old just out of high school.

So off my husband and I went to Costco wondering if the store still had plenty of supplies, and ran into at least four other parties doing the same thing we were. This made me tear up, big time. Some Costco clerks told us they were planning to do the same thing tomorrow—on their day off. We had all heard about it on our local TV news the night before, and like many others, wanted to help. One man who noticed what we were loading in the parking lot, offered a $20 bill to help with gas, to add to the $50 we donated for gas.

Our smallish truckbed groaning under the weight of much water.

Most people are good-hearted when it comes to such disasters and I know that recipients for the most part are incredibly grateful amid the mud and ruined homes and the disarray of lives that surround them. Kentucky is a beautiful and homey state but rain cascading down steep hills overflows creeks and rivers and dams so quickly. My heart especially goes out to all those who have lost loved ones. The heartrending stories. The children ripped from their parents’ arms amid currents that were just too much. 

As I learned when living in Kentucky, it isn’t easy to pull up roots and move away from family and friends and start over in a new location where other disasters perhaps lie in wait. A guy I dated while there took the almost-annual flooding as just something they had to endure. “Oh, its just one of those things. Happens most every year. It’s home. The mountain people don’t leave home just because the water rises,” Donnie told me. It takes money to start over. 

My husband (green shirt) loading more water for Kentucky. We also sent paper towels, toilet paper, and Clorox.

Children and youth were helping load that semitruck, women and men, old and young. How many others in surrounding states were engaging in this same kind of goodwill? I’m sure hundreds, perhaps thousands.

It reminds me of the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 that we read about in scripture. Perhaps, as others have said, the miracle in Christ feeding the multitude came not from some magical wand multiplying the boys’ lunch of two fish and five buns. Rather, the miracle might have come from others seeing the generosity of the little boy and then digging into their own bags to share the lunches they had. However it came about, the disciples were dumbfounded and I think some of us at Costco were a little astonished as well, noticing that others were also stocking up to share the same necessities as we were: water, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies.

This is part of why I married my husband. He has a trait like my father’s: often reaching out to help others. My husband’s father too was a generous giver: he received much joy from sharing tomatoes and other veggies from his garden (sold some for “pin” money too).

The Bible has much to say on sharing with others:

  • If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in them? (1 John 3:17)
  • Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
  • And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)

We send prayers for the people of Kentucky and the many other millions who are suffering all around the world. May they have strength and wisdom and love for another day.

***

You can find the first book I wrote, On Troublesome Creek here. It was about volunteering near Hazard, Kentucky for a year. (If I were writing the book now I would probably write it differently.)

Your stories or comments? Share here or send to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Yes, this column is posting a day or two early, because I learned the Millcreek Church of the Brethren is having another collection day tomorrow evening for Eastern Kentucky, August 12. Information here.

***

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

2 Comments
  1. People with a Christian world view will always answer “Yes” to the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Your husband and other noble servants are doing just that. I feel heartened when I see church groups rallying to the cause. For that reason, I support them and also Samaritan’s Purse, who responds to disaster and stays around when others have gone, like in Ukraine, and probably in eastern Kentucky as well.

    I’ll add to your list of verses here; 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

    31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

  2. Thanks for your comment and sorry for my silence. Have been quite busy. Thank you for the verse reminders you shared and I know you support many causes and help generously at your church too. I’ve been frustrated to learn that many (according to an AP report) have said the locals are not getting action from FEMA (frequently happens) and there is so much red tape–I’m sure folks will need assistance, clarity of process, and bodily helpers who can offer patience, wisdom and information.

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