Last summer Lowes put their bricks on sale, and it almost killed me.
We had a cracked concrete patio that didn’t look so hot, but my wife had found a DIY site that showed how you could brick over it and transform it into a backyard paradise. It was just laying bricks on sand. How hard could it be?
I did the math and according to my calculations I needed 1,000 bricks. I have an English degree so I knew that number was shaky at best, but I figured I’d start there and see what happened.
When it came time to pick up the bricks, however, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get them home. I had a 2006 Honda Odyssey. How many bricks could I fit in the back, and how much weight could I even haul?
I didn’t really think about this until I was sitting in the Lowe’s pick up area waiting for them to bring out my order. I did a quick search of their website to see how much a brick weighs. Turns out it’s four pounds, and I was getting 1,000. A quick calculation told this English major that’s 4,000 lbs or an even two tons.
Hmm, that sounded kind of heavy. I checked my owner’s manual, and according to the folks at Honda I could haul about 1,300 pounds in the Odyssey. Seemed like my bricks might put me a bit over the limit.
Could I push it and go for half? That was only 2,000 pounds, which didn’t sound like a whole lot more than 1,300. It wasn’t even double. But what would happen if I loaded the minivan with too much weight? Would I blow a tire? Snap the axle? I had no idea.
Just as I was trying to Google it, a forklift came around the corner carrying my tower of bricks. Even if they were light as a feather, there was no way I was getting all those in my van. At that moment I knew I was way out of my league.
Even if they were light as a feather, there was no way I was getting all those in my van. At that moment I knew I was way out of my league.
I asked the guy to give me half, and we spent the next 45 minutes loading them in the back one brick at a time. With each brick we added, the Honda sank closer to the ground as my heart sank along with it. I had to get these things home, but this seemed like a bad idea.
The second I pulled out of the parking lot, I could tell I was in trouble. With a ton of bricks in the back, the van handled like a totally different car, the weight pushing against me every time I hit the brakes or changed lanes. I took it slow and easy praying every mile of the way.
Somehow, though, by the grace of God, I made it to my driveway, but as soon as I tried to pull in, I bottomed out. Our van had a trailer hitch for hauling a bike rack, and I could hear it screeching as it dug into concrete. I wasn’t going any farther.
After unloading 500 bricks with a wheelbarrow, I was beat. I didn’t go back for the rest until the next day. This time I’d learned my lesson. I only got 250, took those home, dumped them and went back for the final load.
That was about the time it occurred to me that Lowe’s delivers things like this, and for sixty bucks, I could have saved myself a whole lot of trouble.
But that’s how it goes sometimes in life. We all carry burdens that are too heavy to handle on our own. Sometimes, it’s like my home improvement fiasco, when we get ourselves into trouble because we didn’t think something through on the front end. Other times, however, someone else is driving the forklift, and they dump a burden on us that hits us like a ton of bricks.
Maybe your burden is a money thing. You’ve lost your job or you’re just struggling to pay your bills. You have no idea how you’re going to make it work, and the weight of the stress is crushing you.
For you it could be a health burden. The cancer has come back or you’re waiting for test results or you just don’t feel good and you’re worried about what it could be.
You may be dealing with a broken relationship, grieving the loss of a loved one or wrestling with guilt over all the ways you’ve blown it in life. Your burden could be anxiety or depression or a million different things.
I don’t have easy answers for any of those situations, but I do know this. We were never meant to carry these burdens alone.
Psalm 55:22 invites us to, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you” (NLT). Psalm 68:19 says, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (NIV). And in Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a good deal to me. I would have had to pay Lowe’s to deliver those bricks to my house, but God? He carries my burdens for free. He is big enough and strong enough to bear the weight of anything that encumbers us today. So whatever you’re straining under, lay it down and invite the God who loves you to do the heavy lifting you were never never meant to do on your own. •
Jason Byerly is a writer, pastor, husband and dad who loves the quirky surprises God sends his way every day. You can read more from Jason in his books Tales from the Leaf Pile and Holiday Road. You can catch up with Jason on his blog at www.jasonbyerly.com.