I suspect that every person on this planet knows what it is to carry a heavy thing.
I don’t presume to know what your burdens are, but whoever and wherever you are, we share some basic conditions.
We share a beating heart which so long ago became more than just an organ sitting stupidly in the chest.
We both have a heart, you and me, and so I think I can imagine the ways you’ve carried heavy loads right there.
I think maybe there’s a place where the weights we have lifted intersect.
Maybe spinning ’round in the center of shame. Standing at the corner of “regret” and “nostalgia”. Knees planted on the grounds of grief. Eyes shut against fear. Holding hands with insecurity. Face-to-face with “they did not love me”. Chest-to-chest with “I should have loved myself more”. Splashing through puddles of self-doubt. Covered in the mud of sorrow.
These are the kinds of heaviness we have held up. And more, so much more that my pen cannot put down because I’ve not shouldered it, but I know that it was heavy, and I know what heavy feels like.
There have been moments when I cried up and out to my God and to the space sitting ’round me that I could not hold the heavy for another moment longer.
There have been days when I thought my back might never stretch up straight again because my shoulders were hunched so far down under the pressure of the heaviness I was holding.
And there have been ways that I have carried burdens which I was never meant to bear for far longer than I ever needed to lug them along.
These are the kinds of weights that have been on my mind lately.
I know that there are some burdens we don’t have a choice about carrying. But in the middle of all the places I have been, I recently came to the conclusion that some of my weights could be set down.
That in fact, I might take them off my soul and see that they looked just lovely there on the side of the road.
Just beautiful right there where they’d been meant to be all along.
Unlifted by any kind of hands which fold over hearts in the kinds of moments where words aren’t enough.
Recently, I have set some burdens down.
And do you know it, I feel light.
I feel free.
I feel like maybe if I stood just right with my arms spread just so that the wind might lift me up and carry me off to someplace where I would simply marvel at it all.
And I want you to feel it too.
I want you to feel this kind of free so fiercely that I am here with the scratching of the pen urging the hands of the clock closer to dawn.
I want you to join me on some road, and lay down the heavy right exactly there. Fling the heavy far as you can, like you’re throwing nothing more than wildflower seeds. You’ll be so surprised at what starts blooming, darling.
It’ll be lovely. You’ll see.
I’m so lucky to know the God who made roadsides just for setting things down on.
The God who whispers in His children’s ears “I never meant for you to carry that heavy thing all this way, My child. I always meant for you to be light, light, light, flying high and free on the winds of My mercy.”
The God who helps us open our hands and set the heavy things we’ve collected down on the sides of the roads we’ve wandered on.
The God who turns them into beauty.
The God who turns burdens into wildflower seeds, and who smiles as we laugh in surprise when we see what starts blooming.
The God who holds us as we watch Him make us lovely in the laying down of the heavy thing we’d been carrying all this time.
I’m so lucky to know that God.
And I’m so thankful that He treasures my heart in a way that makes Him ache to see it feel so heavy.
And I believe that He aches for your heart too. I ache for your heart, even though I may not know you.
So, I am asking you.
Look down on the side of the road you’re walking on. And even if you don’t find it today, believe in the moment where you will see a perfect spot to set it down. Whatever it is, however long you’ve held that heavy thing. I promise, oh I promise, it will be perfectly lovely sitting on the side.
It will feel so right as you take it off your shoulders.
And you will walk forward feeling so light, light, light.
-Jessi Sanders 2012