Remember this post? I am still mulling over Romans 15:1-2,
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear
with the failings of the weak,
and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good,
to build him up.”
It has just sung to me recently. The words remind me to be kind. It helps me to consider that maybe this person in front of me feels just as weak as I do today. How can I bear with them in love?
Can I be honest? It is easier for me to bear with the local populations here. I extend much more lavish grace to the Burmese on my street than the foreigners that I work and live alongside. I have been working to remind myself that they, too, are my neighbors. They are strong in many of the same areas as I am, and maybe they are feeling weak, too. How can I build them up? How can I bear with them graciously?
I think these words also make me feel as thought someone is bearing with me in this season. I’m not sure this will make sense, but I think a number of people around us are feeling weak right now. I find that we tend to respond out of our humanity, and we sometimes look to protect ourselves or defend our insecurities. This verse reminds me that many are bearing with me, whether I can sense them or not. Many people are bearing with us in prayer, encouragement, graciousness, generosity, and love around the world.
Last night I sat knitting and reading while three little ones came in to put puzzles together. I suppose I did some knitting and some reading, but mostly I watched and cherished their puzzling.
I watched Yuh Meh Oo work on an alphabet puzzle, saying them each out loud as she went. “A, B, C, D…” Then she’d repeat the letter while she looked, “D, D, D…D!” This continued for each letter, until she had a question and called for help.
I watched Yedi stretched out over her puzzle, soaring through it. Zwe Ne Na struggled a little, but he rejoiced over a found piece and would look over to see my smile and receive accolades.
Yuh Meh Oo finished before the others and stood by the window, staring outside. Sometimes she does this act; it is her way of begging for you to love on her. I’m not sure how to describe it, but Yedi & I both knew it. After a little while, I laid down my book and went over and scooped her into my arms.
She pretended she was asleep instantly, despite the fact that I had picked her up out of standing position. I let her way too tiny eight-year-old body curl into my arms and sat down to rock her while I watched Yedi & Zwe Ne Na finish their puzzles.
And then we sat. I wanted to let Zwe Ne Na finish his puzzle: he seemed so proud of every found piece, and even at the rate he was going I was pretty sure he’d be done by 10:30pm. I thought it was worth the wait. Yedi grew bored of the puzzles and made designs in the magnets. And Yuh Meh Oo, she slept in my arms until I carried her home.
I don’t know if she was really sleeping; she might have just wanted to be held. Maybe she felt weak, and maybe she felt like I was the strong one as I held her.
I felt weak, too. And while I held her in my arms, and gave commendations and praise to Yedi and Zwe Ne Na, I felt like they were bearing with me. I felt like they were giving me strength to stay here and try again tomorrow.
Is it possible that we were all both weak & strong in the same moment? I think that might have been the beauty of it.