Carrying the Load (He Ain’t Heavy)

So, if there is one thing that I’m sure of, it’s that although we, as people, often need to do things on our own, “carrying the load” is never one of them.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Often in life, we carry things with us everyday. They may be physical, like the pen that I tend to carry around in my pocket, or the necklace I carry around my neck reminding me of a retreat I led in High School. Other times, it may not be something as tangible. It could be emotional baggage, the stress of a living any sort of life, or simply memories we cherish, or that haunt us. These things that we carry can often be heavy, burdensome, and even more stressful to our lives.

Though we may feel the need to say, ” I need to do this on my own,” as we might often do with the things that bring us peace, that decompress us, and help us find joy, love, and God, we don’t need to get so caught up in doing everything ourselves. Yes, it’s good for our own sanity and independence that we do certain actions and activities on our own. Still, “carrying the load” should not be one.

We might soon find ourselves trapped, if we choose this route. For example, if a friend were to offer you to help move into an apartment, which you have to do anyway, and you know that you’ll be carrying lots of heavy stuff, particularly up several flights of stairs, you might let them help, or even ask that they help and thank them?

But at two different times in in my life, I was both the gracious friend thanking the friend for helping, and the friend refusing the help of another. I’ve also been the friend offering to help in moving, and the one that didn’t offer the help. It’s a sort of parable. The point here is that the friends who help each other lighten their individual load. If you help me move, I’ll help you move. And it doesn’t make it tremendously easier. Everyone knows that too many cooks in the kitchen burns the entire restaurant down. But when we help each other carry the load, we become stronger. In helping you carry your load, I learn how to better carry my own. And in allowing me to help you carry your load, you might also grow, and instead of breaking your back, you’ll be able to grow stronger and carry the load better.

We can never completely put down the things we carry, but in helping each other carry our respective loads, we can lighten the load when necessary, and grow stronger, both individually, and as a community.

Now, to help best explain that, here’s this song, which always make me cry, in this choral arrangement by Jay Althouse:

(Here’s another link, to a different film of the same performance, but though it is louder, the audio clips, hence my preference for the two.)

Honestly, I cry because I know that I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Hell, I’m still learning it. It’s a difficult lesson to learn. But it’s so wonderful. Even though I am still tempted to do everything on my own, I know that I’m strongest when I can trust others with my load, and myself with other’s loads. And yes, I have gotten hurt before, but that too has made me stronger. I have learned to trust my brother, and that, even with all that I carry, I will never be too heavy to be carried. I will never be too heavy to be loved. I deserve love, even with all of the hurt and suffering I have caused. Even when it feels that there is no one beside me, when the whole world feels against me, I have that familiar feeling, that tender hand on my shoulder, assuring me that everything will be okay.

I can feel God’s grace. It is there. And then I remember that I can and have and will do the same for others. Because he ain’t heavy at all. He’s my brother.

Thank you, Drew. Thank you, Brielle. Thank you, Janet. Thank you, Emily, Luke, Jordan, Karen, Elise, Mona, and Jesus. Thank you.

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Peace, and good night!…

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