We Get to Carry Each Other

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In my top 5 all-time favorite songs is One by U2 and Mary J. Blige. I could listen to it on repeat over and over again. If you haven’t before, I encourage you to check out the whole song because it is filled with beautiful lyrics, but the part that rises to the surface today is this:

“We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other
Carry each other”

We’re one, but we’re not the same.
We get to carry each other.
Carry each other.

I sometimes like to break things down into smaller bits because it helps flesh it out and strengthen meaning for me.

We’re oneone body, shared humanity, linked together, part of the same story, sisters and brothers.

Not the same—unique, different, diverse, each-bringing-something-beautiful-to-the-table, a mosaic, textured.

Get tothe honor of, the privilege of, the gift of, the ability to.

Carry each otherhonor one another, lift each other up, hold burdens, weak and strong together at the same time, working together for good, encouraging and supporting one another.

In other words,

We’re one body, a shared humanity linked together, part of the same story, sisters and brothers. But we’re not the same because we’re unique and diverse; we are a mosaic, each-bringing-something-beautiful-to-the-table. We get the honor, privilege and gift of carrying each other, honoring and lifting each other up, holding burdens, and encouraging and supporting each other.

When I read this back, I like hearing it. I like believing it. It makes me say, “Of course…” Of course, we’re in this together. Of course we need each other. Of course we can’t do it alone. Of course, all kinds of things.

But reality can often be completely different, and carrying each other requires a level of vulnerability and relationship that is extremely difficult for a lot of us.

We like to carry others but not to be carried.

We are so used to carrying others that we have no idea what it feels like to be carried.

We like to think we know how to carry others the way we think they should be carried.

We like to give but not receive.

We like to somehow be the stronger one.

We like to wash other people’s feet but not let anyone touch our own.

Years ago I had a ruptured disc in my back that required surgery. For several months leading up to my surgery I couldn’t sitat all, everwithout being in excruciating pain. I can’t tell you the number of Refuge gatherings where I stood the entire time or lay down on the floor (even during meetings. Yep, super classy). It also meant that I couldn’t drive. People had to pick me up and take me home and “carry” me.

It was incredibly hard, but it was also one of the most healing learning experiences of my life; it illuminated how I was always the carrier, the strong one, and how that needed to be turned on its head.

I hated that level of vulnerability.

And I fell in love with it, too.

I truly needed my people.

Carrying each other in our own contexts can mean all kinds of different things, but without a bit of desperation we won’t really get the meaning of carrying each other.

Desperate is a hard word for a lot of us. If you’re like me, we were taught not to be desperate at all because it was a sign of weakness or to only be desperate for God because that’s all we needed.

But what if being “one” is about being desperate for each other?

That we’re desperate for care and love from sisters and brothers in the flesh?

That we’re desperate for voices and leaders who aren’t like us to teach and challenge us?

That we’re desperate for people who will spur us on, encourage us, be our cheerleaders and champions?

That we’re desperate for learning from others and challenging conversations that help us grow?

That we’re desperate for opportunities where we can truly be carried?

I know some of us have that desperation and no one in line with open arms. That pain is deep.

Others of us are scared to let someone carry us because we might owe them, fail them, have to let our guard down in a way that is terrifying.

And others of us are just tired of carrying and carrying and the thought of one more anyone or anything is just too much for us.

I always recognize we’re all in different places, and my hope is always that we each consider what these words might be stirring up for us. For me, I know my work is to continue to be vulnerable enough to not only let other people carry me with some of life’s regular burdens but to also let others carry me into new places in my journey as my teachers. There’s so much I need to learn and I won’t if I’m always the one carrying.

SheLovely friends, what resonates for you in terms of carrying and being carried?

We’re one, but we’re not the same.
We get to carry each other.

May we carry.
May we be carried.
May that help us become one.

 

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Kathy Escobar
Kathy Escobar co-pastors The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver. A trained spiritual director, speaker, and advocate, she also blogs regularly about life and faith at kathyescobar.com and is the author of Faith Shift and Down We Go—Living out the Wild Ways of Jesus. A mom of 5 young adults and teens, she is married to Jose and lives in Arvada, Colorado.
Kathy Escobar

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