We will carry your mat

A dear friend of mine suffered a loss years ago. It was a traumatic, crippling loss that wakes me up at 3 a.m., even now, more than a decade later. I can only imagine the things that keep her up at night.

I was lucky enough to be one of the women who stayed with my friend, fed her kids, stocked her freezer, wrote an obituary, purchased clothes for a funeral, and deep cleaned the house.

It was then I first heard the story of the men who carried their paralyzed friend on a mat to see Jesus. Unable to make their way through the throngs of people, the men — still carrying their friend — climbed upon the roof of the house where Jesus was. They were so certain that Jesus could heal their paralyzed friend, they made a hole in the roof and lowered their friend so he could be before the Great Healer.

Jesus saw their faith. So he said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5

I remember this story because our pastor at the time said we should all be blessed with friends faithful enough to carry our mats when we are unable to walk.

Hear me say this — I will carry your mat, too.

Suicide, addiction, and trauma are things I understand, things that sit on my heart. I also understand that rural Americans, farmers, and ranchers are significantly more likely to experience these than our more urban counterparts. In agriculture, when someone needs help harvesting or planting or branding or mourning, our communities show up in droves and with tractors and casseroles at the ready. It’s how we’re wired and we do it well.

I’m asking you — and recognizing that it’s a big ask — to join me in carrying our friends’ mats when it comes to the troubles that can’t always be seen. And I’m asking that when you can’t walk, you seek help.

The Fence Post magazine will be wearing a green ribbon until the conclusion of harvest to represent our commitment to mental health and addiction in agriculture. We will be making available resources like the one detailed on page # about the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health program.

I will carry your mat but you have to ask and I’m begging you to ask.


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