The Weight of Living

There’s an albatross around you neck,
All the things you’ve said
And the things you’ve done
Can you carry it with no regrets,
Can you stand the person you’ve become

Your Albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can’t shake
The heavy weight of living

 – Weight of Living, Pt. I, by Bastille

The world is filled with people walking around as shells of who they once were.  Of who they could be.  People burdened by their own thoughts, actions, and haunted pasts.  It’s as if they are walking around in shackles made of regrets, promises, and fears of the dark of night.

Several years ago, while serving aboard the M/V Africa Mercy, I wrote about the joy of serving and working, and finding that in all things big and small.

For several years I forgot that feeling.  The joy of living.  I too was shackled by all those things that I’ve gotten wrong, all the bridges that had been burned, and words that were both spoken and left unspoken in the darkness of night.

Living is hard work.  It’s difficult at times.  Especially when things don’t ever go as planned.

We get frustrated when our plans get disrupted.  When our day starts off on the wrong side of the bed, we wake up late, or run late.  We get angry with ourselves and take it out in our actions and words aimed at others as well as ourselves.

I rediscovered those words I wrote almost four years ago as I was trying to find another piece of writing about my time aboard the ship, and it got me thinking; is it truly possible for us to have joy when we carry our past with us everywhere we go?

Joy isn’t some momentary feeling, it is a way we live.  It is evident in everything we do and in every word that comes out unfiltered.  It is evident in how we think, pray, and spend our time alone.  It is seen in the smile as we work, the laughter as we communicate, and the impressions that our actions have on others around us.

When we are burdened by the weight of living, we cannot focus on that joy.  So we must abandon all that excess baggage, shoot it down so it no longer follows us, and understand that we change the past just as much as we can stop the world from turning or the sun from rising each morning.  It is a futile gesture to drag ourselves down when joy, true happiness, is within our grasps.

Just some thoughts…



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