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Lightening the Load

It’s not unusual to see abandoned objects along the side of the road, but on the interstates, these are usually confined to pieces of tire, the occasional cardboard box, or more rarely, a shoe or unidentifiable piece of clothing. So I was surprised last week to see an easy-chair perched comfortably on the shoulder of I-65. I didn’t think too much about this until a mile or so on down the road there appeared a desk drawer. The mystery was deepening.

Before long, however, I passed a car with a small uncovered trailer attached, pulled off the road. In the trailer were articles of furniture. The occupants of the car looked as if they were securing the furniture in the trailer. I considered turning around and going back to tell them that I had seen their easy chair and drawer a way back on the highway, but this was rural Alabama, and the next exit was miles away. I realized that by the time I got back to spot where I had seen them, the people with the trailer would probably be long gone, either in the hunt for their furniture or bemoaning its irrevocable loss.

I couldn’t help but wonder at what point they had noticed something amiss. Didn’t they feel a certain lightening of the load as objects dropped from the trailer? Were they so busy looking ahead at the road or perhaps debating politics or religion among themselves that they observed nothing of what they were hauling?

Questions to ponder:

What am I hauling around with me, spiritually, emotionally, or physically, that I would do well to leave alongside the road — and move on, lightened in spirit?

Can I let go of what no longer serves — unnecessary possessions, fear that keeps me from God, the need to be perfect, or the need for things around me to be perfect, even the need for my prayer to be filled with what St. John of the Cross calls “sweetness”?

Can I hold lightly the things that do serve, knowing that when I cling to anything that is not God, it weighs me down on the spiritual journey?

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth
that I desire besides you.
(Psalm 73:25)

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