I sat down in the empty chair. He was already there, sitting in the extra chair. He knew I was coming and was there waiting for me. I sighed as I sat down and looked at him, almost looking straight through him as if he wasn’t even there. I started to speak a few times but the words wouldn’t come. I couldn’t seem to put a coherent thought together. I wondered to myself why I even bothered and then looked quickly at him, feeling a little guilty for the thought. I didn’t say it out loud but I knew he knew what I was thinking.
It was quiet for a few minutes as I drifted off in my own thoughts. And then he spoke. I had asked him to come. I knew he was there. But still, somehow his voice surprised me. I reigned my attention in and tried to focus on him. “I’m going to ask you to do something that will be very hard for you.” he said. “I want you to share with me this thing that is weighing you down. Whatever it is. Your deepest hurt that you are holding on to. Share with me your deepest, darkest secret. I can take it, whatever it is. I want you to share it with me.”
My eyes widened and filled with tears. Fear. Panic. My mind raced. “I, I, c-c-can’t do that.” I stuttered as one tear escaped down my cheek. “How could I even…” The words trailed off as I searched for the right thing to say. With compassion in his eyes he took my hand and looked at me and asked, “Don’t you trust me?” My reply was quick. “Of course I trust you.” It didn’t sound as sure as I wanted it to so I started again. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It’s too big. Too much.” I looked down at the floor. “I’m just too ashamed,” I said quietly. I apologized and sat quietly for a moment. I tried one more time but there were no words. “I just can’t.” “Can’t? Or won’t?” he asked. The flood of tears came freely then and there was no more I could say.
We sat in silence for a few minutes, my muffled crying the only sound in the room. I let his breathing calm me. When I finally looked at him, I saw there were tears in his eyes too. When he spoke again, his words pierced my soul. “Oh Cathy,” he said softly, “I’m not asking you to tell me. I already know all about it.” Even as he said those words I realized I had known that all along. “No, Cathy, I’m not asking you to tell me,” he repeated. “I’m asking you to share it with me. Give it to me. All of it. Your deepest hurts. Your fears. Those things that you are so ashamed of. Give it all to me. You were never meant to carry it alone. It’s all mine anyway. I died on the cross so you would not have to carry these burdens alone. You just have to choose to let me have it.”
Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
~ 1 Peter 5:7
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28