Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All About Bears

One of my Christmas gifts from my three girls (daughter and granddaughters) were these absolutely adorable Bearington Bears.
They came with the message that they are my prayer bears and when I am suffering from an RA (rheumatoid arthritis) flare these bears are to remind me that my girls  are praying for me.  
A very touching gift!  Who wouldn't feel better with such cuddly reminders.

Sometimes I find English a strange language where the same word can be used to refer to completely opposite things.   Like 'bear' and 'bear' -  one is an animal and the other means 'to carry'.

So why does 'bear' have  two such extreme contrasts in meaning?    It actually was how the English words evolved over time.   The Old English words  started off being bera for the animal and the Latin verb for 'to carry' was baran while the adjective for 'made of bear-skin' was beren. In Middle English both words became 'bere' with different pronunciations   From there it was a short step to our usage of the word 'bear' as both animal and the verb 'to carry'.

Rather than a literal physical carrying of some object  we tend  to associate 'to bear' with the figurative meaning of  bearing one another's burdens.

When Moses was overwhelmed with his workload he was given good advice by his father-in-law. His father-in-law advised him to choose men qualified to help him in judging the people's conflicts, problems and complaints. He said..."So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you."  Ex. 18:22
We have a New Testament parallel ..
  "Bear one another burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2.
 What is the law of Christ ?   The law of love!

But abstract understanding must be validated in my life by corresponding actions.
Can my bears teach me something about bearing burdens ?
I think so .....
1.  My bears feel sooo cuddly as they snuggle comfortably into my arms.   To bear someone's burden I too must fit comfortably into someone's need.  They must feel that I understand, that they do not have to be stiff or 'unreal' with me... they can be vulnerable and trust me.
2. My bears are soo soft.   To carry someone's burden I must be 'soft', not harsh or condemning or judgemental.
3. My bears do not offer pat answers, they make no demands.  To bear someone's burden listening is more important than offering advice -  offering my strength, my shoulder, my tears of compassion are more important than 'professional' formulas or prescriptions.
4. My bears are 'present'.   To bear someone's burden I have to be available, I must be where I can be reached when needed!
5. Just looking at my bears warms my heart and puts a smile on my face.   To bear someone's burden I desire to be someone that brings a wave of warmth to someone's chilled heart and let gentleness cause a smile to override tears on someone's face.
6. My bears are beautiful.  To walk alongside someone in compassion, carrying a burden together is indeed a beautiful thing to share -- both in giving and receiving.

I wish for all of us in the new year that we will be both 'burden bearers'  as well as never having to bear our burdens alone!  May we share both our joys to multiply them and our sorrows to divide them!

Wishing you , my dear friend, a very blessed 2013 where God is your center and your Source and His Presence and Love your dwelling place.


ellen b. said...

Love your bearable thoughts, Julie! Good words to share...

Karin said...

Beautifully written and such a blessing to me!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Thank you for your blessing for the coming year Julie.
Yes, if we are to bear others burdens we do need to stay near, both emotionally and physically too. No wonder so many people feel overwhelmed as they move around and lose the closeness of friends and family.

I pray that this year a cure for RA may be found.