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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I feel burdened.
Burdened by my failures.
Burdened by ghosts and sorrows.

I’ve grown weary.

* * *

It had been a summer of desultory running. My body ached, and my running had degenerated into something more akin to plodding. Soaked in sweat, weary, I trudged my way past a soccer field swarming with summer camp sprites.

Oh,the cacophony! Before my eyes was a riot of color. Piercing shrieks of laughter and delight reverberated everywhere. It was a raucous display of arms akimbo, splayed legs and twirling torsos...
a joyous celebration of the unburdened soul!

One has to smile in the face of such exuberance. Smile I did. And then it struck me that I will never see a soccer field such as this populated by cavorting middle-aged adults. It would seem unseemly, no? Surreal. Perhaps even...grotesque.

* * *

A burdened soul is the price we pay for living...loving...trying. Some of us are burdened early; for some, it comes much later. No matter. Each living soul will come to feel the weight of sorrows, of failure and shame.

I don’t mind bearing the weight of sorrows. I grieve those whom I’ve loved and lost, whether they be living or dead. How can one not grieve the loss of life’s most precious treasures?

It’s the burden of failure and shame that I find so oppressive. I ponder why I’ve roped this baggage to my bowed back. Perhaps it’s my hard-wired Catholic fixation on guilt? I really don’t know. I used to think I bore my guilt and shame as reminders of consequences, as warnings. Maybe so, but so many of these lessons were learned so long ago. I’ve paid the price, suffered the consequences, learned what there was to learn...and grieved aplenty.

I’ve grown too tired to bear these burdens much longer. It’s time to jettison them. My aged body is weary enough as it is without carrying the weight of a burdened soul. My journey isn’t over yet...I’ve a ways to go. It’s time to lighten the load.

One question: Just how do I do that?

* * *

* * *


Blogger Sunny Delight said...

Maybe, you do that by accepting... simply accepting...that you have "... paid the price, suffered the consequences, learned what there was to learn...and grieved aplenty..."

Once that acceptance occurs, your journey truly begins.

Many hugs sent to you sweet man.

Tue Sep 18, 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Roads said...

Yes, that's true, but I read this another way, Miss Sunny. The answer lies within.

The writer says he has a weight to lift and a road reaching out ahead and left to run.

Fear of failure and shame ?

Pah ! Feel the fear and do it anyway.

One of my favourite quotations comes from the unlikely source of a certain Miss Marilyn Monroe.

And it goes something like this:

'Isn't it funny,' she breathed, 'just how often "What the hell" turned out to be exactly the right answer.'

Tue Sep 18, 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

I have come to realize that walking through is the only way to shed the many layers of hurt that we accumulate in this life. Your path should be littered, behind you, with little snakeskins of things as you shrug them off...

You don't 'do' it. It just does itself, but you have to be ready to receive it.

Tue Sep 18, 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Sunny Delight said...

Ah, Mr. Roads, I cannot disagree with you, one must live through the fear, or we do not truly live.

But, perhaps some of us carry the burden too long, which implies that we have unnaturally increased the weight, by not fully accepting that for whatever reason we failed.

Thus, by accepting our burdens for what they truly represent, we gain strength from them, and can then let them go...truly jettison them...and future roads are traveled with a lighter, more joyful heart. At least that is how I am attempting to lead my life now.

Tue Sep 18, 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gillette said...

Decide to play soccer even though...or are middle aged.


Tue Sep 18, 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Snowqueen said...

I wish I had the answer as well. All I can say is y favourite quote from Dag Hammarskjold: 'For all that has been, thanks, for all that WILL be, YES !!!! '

Wed Sep 19, 08:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My failures have taught me the most about myself and about life, so I accept them as a good thing, not at the time, but in retrospect.

Shame, I don't have any shame I don't think, perhaps that is a Catholic thing.

As for children playing, that is what keeps me young I think. Children see the world through fresh eyes and remind us what that is like. I think that's why grandchildren are so well loved.

Dogs will do the same thing for you. Have you watched a retriever with a ball or a stick? That is pure happiness, you can't help but have some rub off on you.

As for your burdens. They're your's Jonas. Do what you want with them. If it were me, I would lay them down and walk away from them. They serve no purpose.

Wed Sep 19, 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gigi said...

Well, this is what keeps me going...

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Also, the motto of Les Shadoks - French cartoon characters from the 1960s - is quite encouraging:

"When one tries continuously, one ends up succeeding. Thus, the more one fails, the more one has chances that it works."

Courage as we say here...

Thu Sep 20, 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger August Moon Teahouse said...

Live in the moment. Neither cling to the past nor neglect the now in dreams/plans for the future. Start with inhaling the aroma of a cup of really good tea. Start from this simple thing. Inhale the tea's airborne/steamborne molecules, exhale them. There is nothing before or after this. Focus on this. Then expand on it.

Fri Sep 21, 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Roads said...

Carpe diem.

And, as Gigi says, keep at it.

Sat Sep 22, 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you ALL for your thoughts and comments.

My Delight-

I've accepted what was and is. The heart remains heavy.


I'm not overly burdened by fears. In fact "What the Hell" has often been my answer (but, at times, has led to subsequent burdens).

Ms. Flutter-

I intend to leave a littered trail behind me.

Ms. Gillette-

You're trying to kill me!

Your Highness-

The more I contemplate that quote, the more I like it!

Ah, Deb, you're right. I need a dog!

Ms. Gigi-

Yes, Faith can serve as a great palliative...while we keep on keepin' on.

Ms. August Moon-

Yes! The answer's surely found in a cup of tea! I'm laughing.

(For those of you who may not know her, Ms. Moon is a linguist, a poet extraordinaire, a world traveler, and an intrepid tea merchant)

Well, it's time to Carpe my Diem. Thanks again!

Sat Sep 22, 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Laurie Anne said...

Catholic guilt does explain a lot (speaking as someone who thought she was destined for the convent in fifth grade!).
I think we need to realize that are born imperfect into an imperfect world. It is part of our birthright. However, we are worthwhile human beings in spite of our faults and imperfections. The guilts, the regrets, the losses--all part of our birthright as imperfect beings.

Sat Sep 22, 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Ah, Laurie, spoken like a woman of the cloth.

Sat Sep 22, 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Snowqueen said...

I was a Catholic nun at a stage in my life and am quite good at the guilt. I am beginning to be good at being 'selfish' now but do tend to have the guilt as a constant traveller with me. How much space I give the guilt on my journey is dependent on how secure I am feeling. Jonas, I am sure that whatever the burdens, you have the shoulders to bear it. Thinking of you all the way over here in Indonesia.

Sat Sep 22, 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Twilight said...

I cannot improve on all of these excellent comments, Jonas, but will just add a quote of which I often remind myself when feeling troubled. It's from a fellow-countryman, Noel Coward - he once said
"Everything matters.....but nothing matters terribly."

To get the full impact it has to be said with a terribly posh, lazy- sounding British accent. It's a good thought though, whatever accent you use.

We have little time to spend here on Planet Earth - maybe even less than we might expect - in any event it's too short to remain burdened by whatever "guilt", unless it's due to something truly bad such as murder etc. which in your case I'd bet the farm and everything else that it isn't. :-)

Sun Sep 23, 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you for your kind thoughts, Your Highness.

You are a trusting soul, Ms. Twilight

Mon Sep 24, 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger anna said...

It sounds like you're already doing it. Realizing that it's time to let go is the beginning of letting go... isn't it?

Keep your eyes on the road ahead and only glance in the rearview mirror to make sure something from back there isn't about to smack your rear-end.

Tue Sep 25, 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger reciprocal solitude said...

This is sort of what I mean:

(From Vaclav Havel's ''Letters to Olga".)


When I was outside, I didn't understand the cult of tea that exists in prison, but I wasn't here long before grasping its significance and succumbing to it myself. . . . Tea, it seems to me, becomes a kind of material symbol of freedom here: (a) it is in effect the only fare that one can prepare oneself, and thus freely: when and how I make it is entirely up to me. In the preparation of it, I realize myself as a free being, as it were, capable of looking after myself. (b) Tea - as a sign of private relaxation, of a brief pause in the midst of the hubbub, of rumination and private contemplation - functions as the external, material attribute of a certain unbridling of the spirit and thus as a companion in moments of focused inner freedom. (c) The world of freedom considered as leisure time is represented by tea in the opposite - in the extroverted and therefore the social - sense: sitting down to a cup of tea here is a substitute for the world of bars, wine rooms, parties, binges, social life, in other words again, something you choose yourself and in which you realize your freedom in social terms. . . . I drink it every day. . . . I look forward to it, and consuming it (which I schedule carefully, so it does not become a formless and random activity) is an extremely important component in my daily ''self-care'' program.

Sun Sep 30, 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Who am I to argue with Vaclav Havel?

Mon Oct 08, 08:26:00 PM  

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