Meditations on Carrying Burdens and Putting Them Down

BurdenJudith McCombs
I am carrying
the bowl where she fed, bitter
herbs, salt, honey, the taste
of her life. I am carrying
the cloth where she lay, her
dark hair veining the white,
imprint & pain washed
away, the binding, the seams
folded shut.
I am carrying
what is left, her voice
in my ears, questions
not asked, her eyes at the end
jelling over & before that her dark
dreaming smile, her long
arms reaching for babies, her scarred
knees that I envied. Ashes &
shards after fire.
Wind
lifts in the bowl of the desert, takes
what is left. Moth
wings of ash flecking
the cold, shards
scattered on sand, filling
the tracks of the living
& dead, it is ended.
O mothers
who thicken the earth, be fed
& not angry, be shelttered, be
safe where you wait & do not
come back to the remnants
you left, do not
come back with your love.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Martin Luther King Jr

He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden. — Plato

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else. — Charles Dickens

The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature. — Maria Montessori

The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction. — Allen Ginsberg

Humanity has the stars in its future and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. — Isaac Asimov

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. — Cory Ten Boom

No one knows the weight of another’s burden. — George Herbert

Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible. — Maya Angelou

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. — John F Kennedy


That Big, Old Rock. Excerpt from recap of Anne Lamott lecture by Barbara Falconer Newhall

That Big, Old Rock. … we think we have this big old rock to lug around. We wake up in the morning, and there it is lying next to us in bed. We stumble into the kitchen for a morning espresso, the rock goes with us. We go to work, it’s on our desk. We go to bed, and there it is again lying between us and that other person. Or between us and the dog, depending.

What’s the rock? All that stuff we think we gotta do. The things we should have done. And, crap, the things we never should have done in the first place. It’s the mighty to-do list of things it’s up to us, and us alone, to fix.

There’s a lot to love about getting older, Anne told her audience … We care about less than we used to, she said. [At an earlier age] you think you have to keep a bunch of things up in the air at one time. You have to squeeze in one more task before you get home – fill the gas tank or stop off at the convenience store. … you still want people see how good you are. You put off going to the optometrist because you’re pretty sure he’ll find out your eyes have gotten worse, in which case he’ll think less of you.

… One day it dawns on you that you might not have fifty more years to live. For all you know, you have just one more day. …

“Stop the train. Drop the rock,” Anne advised. And remember, “Where your feet are is sacred space.”