February 3, 2020

Weekly Reflection – Burdens

Weekly Reflection – Burdens

What are your burdens?

It was Winter in Shreveport, Louisiana, as he looked down from his third-story office window. Across the street, he could see the run-down old central bus station. And there, crossing the street, was an elderly lady dressed in a shabby winter coat. Her forehead was as wrinkled as that of a weather-beaten old cowboy herding his cattle. She was bent over with age and the weight of the two “carpet bags” she was carrying. He sensed that these bags contained all her worldly possessions. As she slowly trudged across the intersection and toward the bus terminal, he had the sense that, “Her burdens are heavier than the bags she is carrying.” And he cried.

I’ve reflected on this scene for several days. It seems that the old lady in this snippet stands for all of us. Our true burden is often heavier than the bags we are carrying. Each of us has worldly baggage (anything we do to earn a living, care for our family, etc.). But each of us is also filled with varying degrees of fear, anxiety, depression, desperations, habits, and other sources of unease. These are the real burdens we carry. If I weren’t so anxious or depressed or despondent or hurt, it would be so much easier to carry the “bags” of my life.

And then we might look around and see the fellow strugglers who trudge with us. They are all bearing burdens that are heavier than the baggage they carry. That is where Jesus comes in. He “lifts our burdens away.” He smooths the rough waters of fear and anxiety. He replaces our burdens with love! He heals our human condition.

So, this week, look closely at your fellow travelers. Notice the burdens they are carrying. Notice the burdens you are carrying. And let Jesus carry them away!

Credit: The story of the old lady was shared this past weekend by Alan J. Prater at a workshop on Centering Prayer in Houston, Texas.  Prater is an Episcopalian Lay Minister and a Contemplative Outreach certified trainer.

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen


Read more reflections, Let the Little Children Know God