Backpacks We All Carry

Backpacks

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

 

Distant Memories

After my dentist appointment this morning, I drove by, for the first time in 30 years, the house where my first love and I lived. Seems like another life. Did that really happen? So many memories. Some so sweet & special, I only dare to remember them when I feel strong.

Not a lot of bad memories floated up, but a few of the worst times in my life happened in that house. While going through the breakup, I remember thinking that this is what people must be describing when they speak about having a nervous breakdown. It’s a terrible weight loss program. I’ve never felt that before or since, even with the many family deaths I’ve experienced. What compounded the whole incident was that I wasn’t out to my family and only out to a few select friends. That was extremely hard to get through. I felt so alone.

It’s a testament to us humans that we are so resilient and willing (or not) to try again.

As I drove away, I wondered what made me want to drive by that house again. Maybe it was Adele playing softly in the background. Maybe it was because I took a right instead of a left out of the dentist’s parking lot. Really though, I’m thankful. She was and is a great person and we’re friends today (aren’t most lesbians friends with exes? If we weren’t, we wouldn’t have this rich tapestry of wonderful people in our lives). Both of us did good for ourselves. It all worked out.

Grateful.