Remember the childhood riddle, “Which is heavier, a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?”
It was great fun to catch someone giving the wrong answer.
Because, of course, a ton is a ton is a ton. Weight is an absolute measure.
But it takes fewer bricks to reach that quota although it takes just as much strength to lift the burden.
One thing I’m learning in my grief journey is that there are so many people carrying a load.
I find my compassion radar has been fine-tuned to hear even the faintest whisper of hurt in someone’s voice, to see the tiniest gleam of a tear, to notice the smallest stoop of shoulders or the beginning of a frown.
And while some of us have had our ton of pain and sorrow delivered via bricks-suddenly, forcefully and overwhelmingly dumped-others have acquired their ton over a lifetime of disappointment, struggle and testing.
They both weigh a ton.
And they both require great strength to carry.
It’s a challenge to resist the urge to rank my experience on a continuum of pain.
Although I bridle when people compare their loss of a pet or job to my loss of a child (as I wrote about here), I do try to extend grace when others expose their own wounds.
I want to comfort other people with the comfort I have received. Not only the comfort from Christ-which is the ultimate comfort-but also the comfort I’ve received from wise friends and caring sisters-in-loss.
I want to be a listening ear, a compassionate heart and an outstretched hand.
I want to be a witness, a fellow traveler on the journey, an encourager.
A ton is a ton is a ton.