Backpacks We All Carry


While hiking over the wild river trail, I crossed over leaves, sticks, and (surely) ticks and snakes. I stopped to give two thirsty passer-byers water bottles from my backpack. My load became much lighter. As I plodded on, I wondered if God might not give each of us a backpack at birth. Some, I thought, might arrive with heavy river stones in their backpacks from the very beginning of time (karma).

As we live life and tackle problems, overcome addictions, begin new and better habits, help others, reach goals and forgive our fellow travelers (and even give some rocks back to God), our loads seemingly become lighter. For others, maybe there’s nothing in the backpacks given us at birth and they’re light as a feather. Only our journeys can fill them. That, too, is karma.

Those of us that find our backpacks empty early on might not start filling them up until much later in life. I’m not sure what is better: “Do you want to suffer now or later on?” Those seem to be our choices as we will all suffer at some point. Because we’re human.

Since some of us had light backpacks given to us at birth, we had beautiful, magical childhoods. We had love and safety and enough money. But when death hits our families, when lovers and friends move on, and when passions fade and nothing new finds its way in, those loads can become so heavy that there seems to be no way to hoist ourselves up. We have entered “the darkness” and it’s foreign to us virgins. We go off kilter. We dive deep. We get lost. But we’re older and shouldn’t we know better?

I can’t give you a magical way out and tell you how to lighten your load. You have to find that out for yourself and, my dear, I’m still looking, though I found a once-heavy backpacker to follow.

©Lori Ziegelmeyer



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