“Good morning Uncle Harry!”
“Is there something I can help you with today?”
“Yes. I have a job for you.”
“Name it. Anything you need.”
“I need you to come eat pancakes.”
“Great! I’m starving. I’ll be right there.”
True story and it happened twice.
Dad was making pancakes for us Monday morning before we went to Momma’s final service. He loves to cook and he can make pancakes with his eyes closed – or so we thought. The pancake batter was clicking right along until he reached into the cabinet, grabbed a measuring cup and proceeded to pour double the milk needed and created the need to double everything else. Now we had pancakes galore – more than nine people could eat!
And that’s when the phone call happened. At the time I was more than a little tickled and had quite a giggle at my poor father’s expense. But sure enough my cousins arrived with syrup in hand and helped gobble up pancakes.
Dad summed it up with a wink and a smile. “Sometimes you have to ask for help in unusual ways.”
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
See, it started out being about the multitude of pancakes that my father’s already overflowing fridge and freezer just would not accommodate. But it became something more. My dad had effectively (and very unintentionally) surrounded himself with people who love him and just wanted to make his day – an unbelievably emotional and difficult day – a little easier. They wanted to help him bear his burden.
When the pancakes had disappeared, the balloons came out. My momma had insisted all her life that when she died we were not to mope and mourn and bring flowers. We were to sing “I’ll Fly Away” and release balloons to celebrate her trip to heaven. That morning my sister, brother in law, cousins, uncles and father sat on the front porch and filled, tied and prepared balloons with scriptures to be released in honor of my mom. Watching it unfold I easily recognized that it could have been challenging for one or two people and it was certainly emotional for us.
Pancakes and balloons. When Paul was speaking to the Galatian church, he was teaching them how to be a church. The whole passage has all manner of instruction for keeping one another on task but verse two is about helping one another.
As Daddy and I reflected Monday night on the porch, he talked about a variety of people who knew and loved Momma. Over and over, I heard him say, “They’ll need to come have porch time.” “Porch time” is just sitting with coffee on the back deck and talking. Watching the sun go down and the stars wake up and counting the airplanes flying overhead. It is just being with someone else and carrying the burden together for a while.
People are going to ask for help in unusual ways. You may not have to eat pancakes or fill balloons and you may not sit and stare at stars. But a bag of M&M’s, cutting firewood, cleaning a yard, putting up a Christmas tree, or maybe just sitting could be the best help you could be.
Love your neighbor. Bear one another’s burdens. And eat pancakes.