Once there was a legend about a village where everyone carried a 200-pound load of rocks on their back wherever they went. As soon as they got up in the morning, they would put this bag of stones on their backs and go about their business. Even little children, as soon as they could walk, carried a little bag of stones on their backs.
One day a stranger came to their village and was amazed at what he saw. He stopped a man and asked, “Why is it everyone carries a big bag of rocks?” A man replied, “Because we have always done it. Our fathers and grandfathers always did.”
“I don’t know, but we’ve always done it.”
So the stranger said, “Why don’t you put down your bag of rocks?” The man took off the bag and put it on the ground. Suddenly, a huge smile lit up his face and he called out to his friends, “Why don’t we all take off our bags of stone, because we don’t know why we need to carry them!”
So, one by one, they put down their bags. Soon there were smiles and sighs of relief and joy. Then there was dancing and singing in the streets. The village declared a holiday and thanked the stranger for helping them to see a different way to live.
Aren’t we all like that – carrying on our backs a load of worry, guilt, anxiety, stress and fear? Could we consider putting down that heavy load of anger, resentment, envy, self-pity, grief and sorrow? We could ask God for forgiveness and learn to forgive ourselves for all those things for which we think we need to be forgiven.
Feel the relief of setting down this heavy burden from the past. Feel the freedom and the joy that comes from releasing all the pain of the past. We can take responsibility for creating those situations in our lives and begin to develop good habits, attitudes of more caring, more compassion, more helpfulness, more loving, more reaching our potential, more healthy choices, more uplifting activities, and more patience with ourselves and others.
Yes, you can live a life filled with beauty, love and inner peace and joy by giving them to yourself and others. Thank God for our lives and the wonders of nature, family and friends.
Editor’s Note: Hope Bradley Finley passed away on January 13 at age 95. The Mattapoisett resident was thrilled to have The Wanderer publish her poems and essays, something we will continue to do this winter.
The Poet’s Corner
By Hope Bradley Finley