All ye that are heavy laden


I’m a visual person. If I can see something, even if just in my mind, it helps me understand it. Years ago, I had a pastor who had the most beautiful way of weaving stories into images. The way she taught left me with the gift of so many comforting visions that I return to all the time.

Images like these:

-Sitting down on the edge of a desert well, the wind tossing my hair in my eyes as dust swirls around my bare feet, looking up and seeing my Savior walking up, smiling, sitting down beside me so we can chat a while.

-Lying on my back in the sunshine, in the middle of a peaceful pasture of green, rolling hills, dotted with fluffy white sheep grazing safely in the sight of the Shepherd.

-Holding my heavy, sleeping child and handing him off into God’s strong, outstretched hands…again, and again, and again….

-Stumbling to the altar under the crushing weight of backpacks filled with heavy stones of worry and fear and overflowing bags of burdens in each hand, (thinking I won’t make it because of the pain searing through every joint and fiber of my being) but making it. And dumping my bags and backpacks and burdens off one by one, each landing hard, with the most satisfying thud! And stepping back and noting how huge that pile is and how light I now feel.

That last one has been coming to mind a lot lately, because I either keep going back and picking up all that stuff I left there for Him to deal with, or I go wandering off and pick up all new stuff because no matter how many times I repeat this journey, I never seem to learn that I wasn’t made to carry it all anyway.

I’m a human, not a pack-mule.

But my mind…my mind! It’s in a thousand places at once anymore and it’s like I don’t remember how to get back to the altar. Like my map app isn’t working on my phone and nobody else knows the address or how to go, either. So I’m wandering around, stumbling under all this bone-breaking weight and I’m tired. Like, there aren’t words for this kind of exhausted. I’m just waiting on someone to come along and walk with me and maybe wear one of the backpacks, carry a bag or two, and together we take all this unmanageable stuff where it belongs.

But I feel invisible, and my loads most certainly must be evident to no one but me, because all these people who know me well don’t seem to see a thing. They keep tossing more things at me, more things on me, hoping they’ll stick…and they usually do because I’m not agile enough to dodge out of the way. And the load I already thought I couldn’t carry is now bigger, along with my despair, because it just keeps coming and coming at me….

And at this moment, I don’t have a visual for what happens next.

Except that I share this and ask aloud:

Am I the only mama who feels this way? I know I can’t be.

And if that’s true, why aren’t we sidling up next to each other and carrying these burdens together to the One who can deal with them? We’ve stopped saying, “I remember how to get there…let’s go.”

But I ask you: has there ever been a time that those words were more needed?