Carrying a Heavy Load

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.

Isn’t it funny how some days we can handle what life throws at us and other days we hang on by a thread and no matter what we do, we just can’t pull through?

We can attribute those tough days to lack of sleep, stress at work or at home, bad eating habits, or an empty spiritual tank. No matter the reason behind those kinds of days, they amount to a heavy load.

I’m reminded of a day not too long ago when my family and I went exploring on a path along the river; one we hadn’t traveled along before. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot. The birds were chirping and swooping in the tree tops. There was a slight breeze. The river was gurgling and churning along its path. And we were together; happy, contented, stress-free and with seemingly not a care in the world.

We came upon a little waterfall and stood and watched the water pour over the edge. Then we started back toward the trail. The kids skipped ahead of us across the field to the path. The sun shone on their backs making their light brown hair shine like gold on their heads. My son looked around at the trees and the river and the birds soaring overhead and said, “I like this place. It makes me happy.” Truer words could not have been spoken. Peace washed over me, over us.

Later, as we walked back up the trail to the metal staircase that would take us back to street level, my son asked me to carry him. I started carrying him in my arms, but the path was uneven and narrow in spots and it was difficult to navigate while supporting his weight in front of me.

I knew I couldn’t carry him in this way all the way home. I would never make it. He was too heavy and I was too tired. So I crouched down and asked him to climb onto my back. He did and we carried on. It was as if I had gained new strength. He asked me in a sleepy voice if I was tired. I cheerfully replied that I was not. I could carry him all the way home if that was what he wanted. I felt him relax against my back as I supported his weight with my arms and hands clasped under his legs.

With strength I know not where from, I climbed the long metal staircase and crossed the street in the direction of our house. At the next block, I felt his little body go slack and his grip on my shoulders loosen. I glanced over my shoulder. He had fallen asleep, secure in the knowledge that I could carry him safely home. And I did.

I think of that day often. It is a reminder to me that if I just shift my load, I can do anything.

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