It’s not the load you carry…

Every once in a while you run across a phrase that sticks with you. After hearing it just once it comes to mind spontaneously in various situations proposing ever new applications. Our chaplain shared such a pithy little statement with us the other day.

“It’s not the load you carry that will break you, it’s the way you carry it.”

We live in a culture that has trained us well to lay the blame anywhere but on ourselves. We have become so conscious of maintaining a healthy self image that some of us have created false images just so we can avoid anything that would cause our real selves discomfort. “If only” can easily become the catch phrase for countless occasions.

“I’d be fine if only I didn’t have this unbearable debt weighing over me.”

“I’d be fine if only my boss would recognize my real potential.”

“I’d be fine if only I never had to encounter that person again.”

“I’d be fine if only the government could get its act together.”

In each of these statements (as well as whatever one may be circling in each of our thoughts), the emphasis is on the load and that certainly is enough to break you if you let it. The trick is to move beyond the burden to action. What can I do about this right now?

We have many options on how to carry our load. But we should never try to do it alone. From the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, God tells us that it is not good for man to be alone. Christ came that we might all be one. St. Paul reminds us that in the Body of Christ each is to help carry the other’s burdens. One might say that the road to heaven is all carpool lanes.

Secondly, we don’t have to carry it all at once. It is going to take several trips back and forth. The Gospel from just this past Sunday tells us again that we are not to worry about tomorrow, today is enough in itself. St. Therese reiterates this in her beautiful poem, “Only for Today” in which she begs God for the grace to continue carrying her load for this day only.

Thirdly, we should keep our eyes fixed on Christ and His burden, for it is easy and light. Who was it that said no burden is light, but if it is carried with love, it becomes light?

We will begin the grace-filled season of Lent next week and will be reminded to take up our cross and follow Christ. Maybe we should spend this next week thinking of the best way to carry that load: not alone, not all at once, and always in the presence of Jesus.

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 8:55 am  Comments (6)  

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  1. I think your chaplain watched the Academy Awards this past Sunday. During the “In Memoriam” section they paid homage to Lena Horne and that was the quote she had said. She had quite a load to bear herself but she carried it so well. Interesting how this worked into Sunday’s Gospel reading! Like Mother had said at the January Handmaidens meeting to ask Jesus for his love to carry us through the day. How often I forget that Jesus can carry me through any rough day!!

    • Thanks for the information. That would explain all the visits to our blog and the searches that led them there!

  2. What great reminder for me as I am always thinking along the lines of “I’d be fine if only…”
    Great food for meditation!

    God bless

  3. You’re so right – how heavy the load is when we try to carry it alone. God always gives us enough grace for this moment – We have to try not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Staying with Christ in the present surely does lighten the load.

  4. I think your closing sentence would work well on our refrigerator and/or bathroom mirrors!
    1. NOT ALONE

  5. Do not take account of the wind.

    Saint Peter did, and he sank like a lead ball.

    Pick up your cross and carry it as long and as far as you can.

    Give thanks to God He has put you in a place you don’t deserve to be in.

    Many souls are counting on your prayers and penances as they cry out the De profundis:

    Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it.

    For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord. My soul hath relied on his word: My soul hath hoped in the Lord.

    As you toil in the vineyard of the Divine Master, lose yourself so far into service of He that Is, you no longer think of yourself.

    If you do this, one day you will awaken in Heaven, with many of the Master’s sheep that you helped save surrounding you.


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