Knowing When to Set the World Down

I had to sit the world down to keep breathing. Since I was a little girl, I tended to absorb, just like a towel, the hurts of others. I found carrying the pain and sorrow of others the most desirable aspect of a life that seemed to have no other value. I would hug the wounded to my breast, whisper that all would be well, and with them so close, allow their disappointments and tears to flow out of them and into my soul.

Because I knew how much it hurt to bear the lack of love from others, I didn’t want anyone else to feel it, so I tried to shift their suffering onto me. It didn’t work in the way that I wanted it to, meaning that the other person still experience hurt, but it did remind them that someone cared for them, and that brought them some measure of peace and joy.

Just in the last few months with so much loss and subsequent grief to friends and neighbors, I found myself once again trying to hold their agony inside my heart and body. But, maybe it is because I am older now, the strain is too much and the discomfort feels like the exertion of running a marathon. I felt tired constantly, and I knew that the time had come to admit that I cannot hold the world on my shoulders any more.

When my sister died and I adopted her children, I was just 21 years old, a young whippersnapper of a lass, and soaking up the grief of four children ages 2 through 6 made me nearly euphoric, as I watched them continue to enjoy their childhood. It was as if I were a good luck charm, a superstition I used to believe in.

Even then, the guilt at living while their mother was dead caused me to attempt to keep them from all hurt and danger. Of course, I failed, because it is impossible for us to live in this world without troubles. I had to learn to let them suffer their own pains, and just be there to give them love and support, which is as close as we can come to taking on the world’s problems.

So, I pray now for my friends in the loss of their children and other physical, social, and financial challenges, giving the load to Jesus Christ, my Savior. I know that He will bear their burdens much better than I can. I once spent 28 days in a mental hospital. In the last about four weeks, I found myself stressing to the point of deep depression and stress so acute that I could barely move.

So I decided that for my mental health and to keep doing my jobs for my husband and my students, to let God do what no other human being can do and that is carry all of the world’s craziness and awfulness inside us and remain sane. I am putting the world down today. Now the challenge is to not pick it up again!

Written for Tale Weaver #262: Carry. Micheal from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie requested we write on what the word carry brings to mind. Fandango prompt is Euphoric. Ragtag prompt is Most Desirable. Word of the Day is Superstition. This was the perfect prompt for what I am feeling today!

2 thoughts on “Knowing When to Set the World Down

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  1. “I had to sit the world down to keep breathing.” What a true statement that I can so identify with, Regina. God has had to work in my heart for this same kind of issue. Even though I had begun the process of turning over hearts to God, I didn’t realize how much I was still trying to carry until chronic illness struck me several years ago. It is still a process that God is uncovering in my heart. So I will pray for you on this journey also. He is so much better at the carrying! Blessings and love to you.

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