When I was in college I didn’t appreciate the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams. When I first read it in Literature class I thought, This is famous poetry? I could have written that! But as the years go by, the first line of the poem has come to mind repeatedly.* Suddenly, I can relate to the red wheelbarrow and feel compassion for its plight (if indeed a wheelbarrow can have a plight).

When I became a mommy, I began to understand what it means to bear the weight of responsibility. It wasn’t just me, or even me and my husband anymore; I had little human beings dependent on me—for sustenance, comfort, love—to learn about God and the meaning of life. I remembered the little red wheelbarrow.
Now that my kids are grown and I have grandchildren, it seems like the responsibilities have multiplied. Why is it, I ask myself, that I feel like so much depends on me?  As if things won’t get done if I don’t do them (or they won’t get done right). I worry about other people and take on their stuff as if it was my own to bear. I’ve learned this is codependent behavior. Who knew that the little red wheelbarrow was an enabler? 

One of my favorite texts, that always makes me sigh with longing, is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This is Jesus talking, and I want to believe Him, because He doesn’t lie. I trust Him wholeheartedly. So why is it I still feel weary and burdened? I think the secret’s in the yoke. Not like the yoke’s on you, but the wooden harness the animals of Jesus’ day wore.  It was always shared by two—one stronger, lead animal, and the lesser one to walk beside. 

If I’m in a yoke with Jesus, He’s definitely the stronger individual. If I walk beside Him at His pace and do what He has for me to do, my burdens will be easy. He’ll be doing the bulk of the work! However, it’s when I strain to go at a different pace, or in a different direction, or try to carry more weight than He intends for me—this is when I become weary and burdened. 
I read another verse recently that seems to bring in further understanding. I was worried and burdened, yet trying not to take on a load that is not mine to bear. God spoke to me through Zephaniah 3:16-17, “Do not fear…do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” I don’t have to bear the weight of this situation, but that doesn’t mean I just let my hands hang down in defeat. There is still much I can do.
My work is to lift my hands in prayer and give this situation to the God who saves.
If you feel like the little, red wheelbarrow left out in the rain, envious of the chickens nearby who don’t seem to have a care in the world, there’s hope. That’s not the life God intends for us.
Everything does not depend on us! Isn’t that a relief? Our God is big enough to handle our load, as well as everything and everyone else that concerns us. Our job is to get in the yoke and keep in step. We can talk to Him about everything and leave it with Him. I hope that encourages you like it does me. I just breathed a sigh of relief.  
*For the full text of “The Red Wheelbarrow” click on this link: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/red-wheelbarrow