Today I want to tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there were two donkeys named Katie and Joshua. They were really strong donkeys that could hold a lot of heavy packs on their backs. But there came a time when they were each loaded with a weight so heavy that it was hard to stand up, hard to walk, hard to breathe, hard to work — -so heavy that they felt like they would fall down at any second. Now, sometimes, the Joshua donkey would say, “Katie, let me carry some of your weight for you. I’m feeling strong today and I can take a little bit of your weight on my back.” So Katie would give him some of her burden and then it was easier for Katie to walk and breathe and work. And sometimes, Katie would say, “Joshua, let me carry some of your weight for you. I’m feeling strong today and I can take a little bit of your weight on my back.” So Joshua would give her some of his burden and then it was easier for Joshua to walk and breathe and work.
The problem was that there were some days when both of the donkeys were feeling very weak and the burden was much too heavy to bear. They both needed to give away some of the weight, but they couldn’t give it to each other, because they were both struggling. On one of these hard, hard days, they sat down beside the road and just looked at each other. The Katie donkey cried because, well, let’s be honest — she cries a lot. “What are we going to do?,” she asked the Joshua donkey. “We can’t carry this load all by ourselves today.”
Just then, they heard a sound. It was coming from around the bend in the road. It sounded like a lot of voices and hooves and clip-clop footsteps. “What’s that?,” the Joshua donkey asked in a low voice, because he was always on the alert, watching with protecting eyes and keeping the Katie donkey safe. “I don’t know,” she replied. “It sounds like a lot of friends talking.” They waited warily. And from around the bend appeared first one donkey, then two donkeys, then three, then four and five. Soon, there were hundreds of donkeys standing all along the road as far as Katie and Joshua could see in either direction. Some were family — Katie and Joshua’s moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and grandparents. Some were old donkey friends they had known for a long, long time. Some were newer friends they hadn’t known for as long, but friends just the same. Some they didn’t recognize at all. Katie and Joshua looked at each other with wide eyes. What was going on here? There was an electric feeling in the air, warm and fuzzy and tingly.
One by one, the kind donkeys stepped up to Katie and Joshua. One said, “Here, let me rub your shoulders.” Another said, “Let me wash your packs.” Several said, “It’s okay to cry because your burden was causing you pain. I’m here to listen and dry your eyes.” A group of donkey moms said, “Here’s some delicious dinners for you, so you don’t have to worry about how to get food.” Many, many donkeys said, “Here’s some donkey money to help you pay for what you need.” Some said, “Here’s a book to read when you’re feeling sad.” And all of them, each and every one, gave precious donkey hugs and said, “Let me take a piece of your burden. My burden is not so heavy and I can carry some of yours.”
When all was said and done, Katie and Joshua’s burdens were much lighter and they felt much better. They stood up and shifted their weight back and forth. They took a deep, deep breath of clean, cool air and felt their lungs fill up. “I feel so much better,” Katie exclaimed with some bewilderment. “Me too,” Joshua said. A peaceful feeling settled over them.
The Katie and Joshua donkeys looked at all of their donkey family and friends surrounding them. Katie cleared her throat and said with a grateful heart, “You have given us the most wonderful gift. You have shared our load. You have taken care of us. You have made us feel peaceful and loved when we were so sad and lonely and weren’t sure we could go on with our heavy burden. You have showed us the meaning of compassion. We are very happy that you helped us and are going to walk with us, taking pieces of our burden on your own backs so that we can walk and breathe and work. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. What would we have ever done without you?”
The donkey friends gave Katie and Joshua more hugs and said, “You don’t have to wonder because you’ll never be alone. We will always be here for you.”
So the Katie and Joshua donkeys set off surrounded by their family and friends, walking and breathing and working together, wrapped up in love.
Sweet baby, our lesson from this story is that when our friends and family are sad or carrying a heavy load, we should help them in any way we can. We should share their load, just like they have done for Mommy and Daddy, whose burdens have been so heavy since you left. We have seen the heart of God through those that have given so freely their time, their money, their words, and their hugs to us.
I kiss you.
Love you forever,