Carrying The Load
What We Can Learn From Life’s Burdens
Our lives have challenges. Each day is often a mixed bag of successes and failures. Sometimes it feels like we are gaining, and other days it’s two steps forward, one step back.
There’s always room for complaints. There’s constantly room for improvement. And there are the burdens that are present in our lives. Sometimes the hurdles and loads we face each day, we’ve met before, perhaps repeatedly for years.
The relationship you struggle with.
The physical pain that plagues you.
The emotional scars from years ago.
The weakness or sin that keeps showing up in your life.
These things (or other similar ones) can be ever-present, hanging out in our minds. No life exists without discomforts or trials, no matter how outwardly successful it appears.
But we don’t have to flee from those burdens. Instead, we need to face them and learn from them. Each of us has an internal load to carry. Let’s look at some of the benefits of hoisting that load each day.
So many good things happen in life if we keep going. It’s not glamorous or sexy, but the good things in life require showing up each day. Every life has peaks and valleys, and sometimes the valleys are deep and dark. But you don’t leave the valley floor by stopping mid-march.
Our burdens will often lead us into those dark defiles, and it’s tempting to think that’s the destination.
It’s not, if we refuse to stop.
We need to seek stamina and strength for the long trek. Facing our struggles can make us stronger, exercising emotion and psychological muscles we didn’t realize were there.
Seeking endurance fosters patience and grit. It’s good to be emotionally gritty.
I’m better than other people.
I’d never screw up as they did.
I could do so much more if only I were in charge.
These are the sentiments that play through our minds, unbidden. We are not humble by nature, but humility is good for us; it’s leading us toward wisdom. It’s hard to relate to others, empathize, or gain understanding if the soundtrack in your head proudly repeats, “I’m pretty hot stuff.”
Pride is a fierce mistress and a terrible master. Often it’s after we’ve been burdened (perhaps daily) that our pride starts to wear away, and we cease to trip over it. Humility is the antidote to the chaotic folly that pride promotes.
We live in a world of the immediate. Everything is supposed to be resolved at once and with minimal fuss. It’s the deception of the digital age: real lives are not programmed and handled with a few clicks of a mouse.
But time does indeed resolve some issues. It provides us a runway, room to maneuver and think. We’re able to reflect on our experiences, emotions, and reactions and use those lessons to improve our situations in the future.
Time and patience can provide an opportunity for other options or solutions to present themselves. It gives us space to grow into the lessons we’re learning.
Silence Is Beneficial
The importance and urgency of things in our lives are due in part to how much airtime we give them.
How much do we think about our burdens?
How often are they the topics of conversation?
If we’re constantly talking about our problems or burdens, we amplify them. We allow them room to crowd out other profitable things in our lives. It’s easy for the negative to overshadow our blessings.
Sometimes solutions are not immediately apparent. Perhaps time, perspective, or maturity are needed for a resolution to appear. Sometimes the solution is to silently carry on, shouldering our load and getting on with the day.
Sometimes silence gives our burdens the attention and priority they deserve.
Think of the burdens, loads, and scars that you carry that no one else truly knows about. Others may know of them, but they don’t live it. It’s a personal walk.
Now, remember that every person you meet, whether they acknowledge it or not, has such a load. Have a bit of charity with each other. Our perspectives about situations and others radically alter when we understand that there are hidden forces and burdens at work in other’s lives.
And our perspectives about our lives fundamentally shift when we recognize that the loads we carry can be (and often are) to our benefit.
What internal load are you presently carrying?
Start today: reflect on how that burden has helped craft your perspective or character for the better.
Originally published at https://fjwriting.com on April 21, 2021.