The Backpack

It came to me in a dream last night. I woke myself about the time I was supposed to be getting up speaking out loud “How could you even think I would consider using drugs. Do you know what drugs do to peoples lives?” Drugs and drug use destroys people. I’ve seen it so many times in my life and it’s contributed to me being stronger. As I came out of the dream state Juice looked at me, snuggled closer and purred. I tried to maintain my dream cocoon long enough to remember and bits have stayed with me.

I was in phsycho therapy with Doc and Randee (odd) and I’d had to use the bathroom in two different rooms and ended up messing the floor and room. Before I could get there someone else (Randee) had cleaned up the mess for me-wiped it clean. Doc said “next time I hope you will clean up your own mess, other people need to use the room too”. Then he started to ask me how I have been able to bear all that I have in life. That’s when he accused me of drug use, saying I had access since many members of my family had brought them into the house and suggested that maybe I just used a little to ease the burden. Then he was in my face accusing me of being in denial, which is typical of drug users. That was ironic because my personally ingrained response to drug use is so knee jerk and violent that I don’t even want to be around anyone who might be using.

Then I considered my reaction to that and realized that I am a strong person, strong willed, strongly opinionated, tough, matter of fact, emotionless because I’ve had to be that to bear up under the hand that’s dealt to me. I then pictured each burden as a long leather beaded fob on a carabineer clip. Each handed to me to deal with and each clipped to the burden bar on my backpack in order. Each then adding to my resolve to carry it and as life travels forward the oldest eventually drying up and becoming lighter and lighter until eventually they are simply a shriveled string with lumps, still hanging on the bar but no longer a burden to me.

I can’t list the oldest yet but more recent

Mother is standing in the kitchen yelling at me to “don’t be that way”, when it’s the only way I can be with the pack I carry. No one carry’s the burden for me; no one removes the carabineers to carry the load on my behalf, they have their own pack to carry. Clip that one to the bar. Stand taller, absorb the shock, walk on stronger than before. Show her love in the way I know how by taking a few clips off of her pack-take the accusations quietly, don’t fight back.

My favorite boss sits next to me the day the employer is to announce that the company is making cutbacks and we will all know by the end of the day if today is the last job we have to work. He already knows that my number was drawn, but he doesn’t keep his word and tell me himself. He sits there listening. Then the call comes for me to go to HR because I’ve just lost the best job I’ve had so far after 4.8 years in loyal service. Clip that one to the bar. Stand taller, absorb the shock, walk on stronger than before.

There are so many that the bar is full, clipped side by side by side over the years. Who has bared the burden with me? The dogs, the cats and certainly the horses have been strong enough to relive me of some of the weight. There have been so many times when I’ve released he burdens into a strong neck allowing their mane to wash over me, leaning into them, holding me up. Silently they wait and when I am finished toss their heads and poke me for a carrot. Their presence lends their strength to mine,

The animals have been my drug of choice. The unconditional acceptance and love giving me back the strength that is needed to bear up under life. I think this is why poor people have pets – and they should. Pets can carry your burden unlike people who put their perspective on your journey. A pet simply shares the load, no demands, no explanations needed.

As the older burdens become shriveled up maybe it’s time to remove the clips and hang them on the cross. Let go and Let God. I don’t have to bear them up alone, He carries me and looking back I see He always has through the friends and the pets who have walked with me. I still have a heavy burden that I claim. Maybe now, I can finally set it aside.


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