Carry On

Tyson has developed a sweet habit of helping me carry in my things from the car at night. As a recovering bag lady, this is truly more meaningful than it may sound at first. It's nice to have someone to help lighten the load. Today, he was having trouble because he picked up too many things. I heard myself saying to him, "Well, Tyson, don't take on more than you can carry!" Immediately as the words left my mouth, I realized just how ironic that statement was.

Just like my Grandma Ginny, "I'm fine" to a fault. I come from parents who inspire me by going out of their way on a daily basis to improve the lives of others. Seriously. They are a human interest story in kindness. They have passed along that gene to me (I hope, I'm working on it), along with a gene for hard work. I have worked and clawed and stressed and struggled and risen to life's challenges and have begun to carve out my own place in this world. My life has not been easy by any means. However, I am not blind to the fact that much of what I have and who I get to be has also come from the privileges I have been afforded and a life of unconditional love. This is where things get a little stickier.

When I told Tyson not to take on more than he could carry, he responded with, "But you have so much to carry, and I don't have that much. I can help." He's five, and he totally meant this in a literal way, but it had a profound impact on me.  This is exactly what I don't know how to stop doing. In my job, I see heartbreaking things. Every day. Sometimes every hour of the day. I see kids dealing with things in their lives that they should never have to deal with at any age, let alone in their teenage years that come with so much insecurity and uncertainty anyway. If I told you their stories, you might not believe me. Along with my 500 bags of ungraded papers and library books and eating-my-feelings snacks, I carry these things home with me every night. How could you not? I have a lot on my shoulders, but they're not broken, so I keep adding to the load. I have my faith and friends and family to build me up and pick me up. As Tyson said, if you're carrying more than I am, shouldn't I help you?

I'm not entirely sure what my point is in all of this because I'm carrying too much right now, and I know it. I'm frazzled and think I very well may be dropping the ball in all of the reindeer games I'm trying to play. Yet, I think maybe what I want to say is this: what I'd love to see more of in this world are people who are helping to carry the load. I don't mean this on a political level. I mean it on a human level. Not everyone literally wears their stress on their shoulders like I do, but that doesn't lessen the load any. When someone says, "I'm fine," the easy path is to take their word for it and wait for them to ask for help. People like me, we're always fine, and we won't ask for help. We'll have trouble accepting it, too. You can wish that we were less difficult and say it's our own dang fault, and you'd be entirely right. However, I'm not sure that being right feels as good as helping us anyway (and I should know because I friggin' love being right).

Thanks to the people in my life who call bull on "I'm fine." I rely on you so much through stressful times like these and know that I can't possibly thank you enough times for you to understand how grateful I truly am. Thanks for reminding me to give my problems up to God. Thanks for stopping me in the hallway, asking how I'm doing, really meaning it, and hearing me out, even though your load is as heavy as mine. Thanks for helping me sift through my "bags," even when what I'm carrying is ugly and uncomfortable and hard. Thanks for letting me set things down for a while to have a run or a drink or a laugh with you. We should do it more often! Thanks for somehow hearing my cries, even when they're silent in my classroom because I just heard a silly Christmas song that I used to sing with my sister. Thanks for understanding what's on my shoulders and for hopefully letting me help you with what's on yours. Because of you, I will always want to be a carrier and hope that others will see that in me. Thank you to people who are named Tom Ferri. Thanks for making it (almost!) to the end of this sad attempt back into the blogging world. I think I should try again soon. It's good to be grateful. :)

This has been a tough day, and I have hours of work still to do after the kids go to bed. I will somehow limp my way through Thursday and the holiday season in no small part because of the people who love me despite myself, and I will try to pick up as much as I can along the way.

"If you're lost and alone or you're sinking like a stone,
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and
Carry on"

Thanks, load lighteners, you made my day.

Carry on...

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