Come to me
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I don’t understand this. I don’t understand how His yoke is easy and His burden light. I’ve at least been trying to come to Him, trying to follow Him, but I don’t feel that my burden, my weariness, my laboring has been lightened or lifted. In fact, it can feel as if following Him entails the greatest burden of all.
I was praying with this passage at the end of a long, hard, troubling day, nestled in the last pew in my favorite chapel a few blocks from my house. I came to Him, as He said. I was laboring and heavy laden, in need of rest. These words of scripture kept coming to my mind and heart, so I found their place in my well-worn bible and turned them over a few times.
I don’t understand it, but it’s comforting. I don’t always see Him, but I follow Him. His Church has failed me and everyone—everyone—in it, but I stay.
It’s not often that I do this (and it’s good for me, to be sure), but I must admit: I just don’t have the answer. I didn’t walk out of that chapel with a newfound revelation, with a deep sense of peace and understanding and a tidy conclusion. I watched the homeless man with his bags and the single father with his sons exit alongside me as the Sister came to lock up for the night. We stayed to chat for a while, about nothing in particular. I shuffled home, emptied my lunchbox, chatted with my roommate. The stuff of life.
And while I go through these tiring daily motions, thoughts of the state of my heart and the Church swirling incessantly, it is a comfort to stop and to notice. To notice my anger and pain, to notice my soul-deep weariness. To notice the causes for great gratitude in the midst of the muck.
For one, He has put in me a longing that only He can fill. It is a truth concurrently heartening and confounding. You will find rest for your souls, He says. It is not such a challenge finding rest for my body or mind or heart in human ways—I sleep, or read, or treat myself with gentleness. But my soul? That is a rest that only He can give. A rest that—dare I say it?—will always be wanting this side of heaven. While I want a resolution, a conclusion, a revelation, He offers me His rest. He invites me to be with Him. To watch Him, unmoving, on the cross. To look past the mundane appearance of bread to find His face. To shoulder His easy yoke and light burden, despite my utter perplexity at that invitation.
No, I don’t have the answer. I don’t have the rest I’m still yearning for. But I—and we all, truly—have this perpetual invitation awaiting a response, again and again: Come to me. Come to me. Come to me.