Have you ever walked through an airport with a bag in the days before they all had wheels? Yikes! Or have you ever humped a suitcase up five flights of stairs? Ouch! If so, you know what it’s like to carry a burden…and how wonderful it feels to put it down.
This morning, there was a brief moment (it lasted about two minutes) when I felt my emotional burden lift and the world briefly changed into a kind and sun-filled place. If I needed any confirmation that I’ve been carrying around a suitcase full of woe, this moment was it.
As a white, heterosexual, American male who has never known what it’s like to go without a meal, a roof over my head, a loving family and a job, I know very little about BURDENS. That’s one of the reasons why this period of discontent has been so uncomfortable. I know very little about real suffering because I’ve led a pretty charmed life – until now.
It’s said that God makes the shoulders to fit the load, but He doesn’t guarantee one will not struggle. That’s why one fellow may be able to bear only a pile of sticks and another can carry a load of bricks. We are all of different constitutions and we are all fighting our own great battle in this life. And NO ONE gets off without being tested. (That’s one reason we all deserve empathy.)
Speaking of God, have I ever told you that I prayed for challenges in my life? Yup. A bunch of years ago I recognized that I mature only when I’m tested. So, I got down on my knees and said, “God? Bring it on so that I may learn and grow.” I really did.
My friends in my men’s group thought I was nuts, but I knew that I had to be pushed to the brink in order to move past my limits. My father left before he could teach me how to be a man and, truthfully, no one taught him either. Furthermore, I knew I was stuck. I couldn’t get to where I wanted to go because I was…well, spoiled?
This is controversial. Even in my own mind I can make a good case for an easier approach to life. But I know Scott and thanks to growing up in a cushy suburb, my skin is about as thick and tough as pie crust. I had to break through my own kind of glass ceiling.
Elizabeth Lesser talks about this in her book, “Broken Open.” Some of us, the lucky ones (maybe), get to achieve more in this life but only when we get knocked down and get back up over and over. And my time for that is now.
So, thanks God. I appreciate the lessons. I now know grief, despair, anxiety and confusion better than ever before. AND I know that I can keep going. My shoulders are wider than I thought.
Mother Terrsa famously said, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.“ I get it.
This morning, I got down on my knees, again, and said,”God? I’m ready for the tests to end for awhile. Do you think it might be possible for me to rest on this plateau for a bit? It’s up to you, of course, but I think I’ve learned enough for now.”
I’ll let you know how that goes.