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On Overcoming the Burdens of Life

Those who love the Lord Jesus and his Father speak often of overcoming in the Lord. They speak of unburdening themselves to the Lord. They speak of the endless care the Lord provides to those who suffer. I understand that there are times when life is simply too overwhelming to handle alone. I have had those times. And my gods never refuse my request for strength. But I have never been of the mind, to “give my life up to god.”

I have nothing to overcome. I am not burdened. Challenge is the essence of life, growth and knowledge. I embrace it.

The burdens of my life have all been gifts. I learned through them that there is a difference between being strong and being hard. That trying to protect oneself from pain is to protect oneself from Life, with a capital L. That to love is to RISK and Oh! how it is worth the risk, no matter how it ends. And it will end.

I understand that to protect myself is a form of lie, when trying to turn myself inside out every day, paint myself a new color to please those around me. And it is to insult every one of them for never trusting them enough to believe that they might just love me as I am.

My trouble having children taught me that I have raised more children than my body could have produced. And they are all my best friends.

My father, not giving me the love that I needed hurt me, bruised me, but it also taught me to look deeper. I saw that he gave me everything he could, everything he had, everything he knew how to give and that it was generosity on his part. But I had to look past my pain, past my selfishness, with different eyes. I ultimately thanked him for being all that he could to me. If I needed more, who had the problem? I healed myself.

The abuse of my first marriage taught me, that sacrificing my body and soul in the name of a sacred contract with someone unworthy of that contract was something the gods would never ask of me. And I vowed that I would never sacrifice myself again, because one who truly valued me would never ask that of me.

The deaths of my dearest family, my mother and my foster sister, taught me that the gods were doing nothing to me with their passing. I perceived how arrogant survivors are about their personal loss, as if the universe revolves around their pain, their struggle, their burden to learn something from the loss, if nothing more than to find comfort in god's mysterious plan.

Death is personal and private. It is all about the one who dies. My pain cannot be remotely equated with my mother who would never see her life's work completed.

Or my sister who would never see her daughters go to a prom or marry or have children. Deep in grief, her husband asked god why He would do this to him! As if she was created, grew, flourished and shed light wherever she went for the singular purpose of dying to teach her husband a lesson? What nonsense.

My loss was unbearable, but I was alive to bare it. To do otherwise is to insult the dead, insult life itself and the divine who creates it. My grief is still with me - and I need no comforting from it. My grief is a living testament to a person whose light was so bright that its absence still casts shadows in me. I own my grief gratefully because the gods allowed me the experience of one such as she who called me friend and sister. I do not need divine comfort. I'm too busy thanking the divine for the blessing of allowing me to have ever known her. And I have learned that mother and sister are not so far away.

As for god, not giving you more than you can handle? Life has given me more than I can handle more times than I can count. After S. died, living was impossible. Some days, it is still impossible. And I do the impossible every day. That is one of the things we're here to learn - to do the impossible - every day. And that's the easy part.

Learning to still smile, that's the real lesson.

Every person I have ever loved, I still love today, no matter how the relationship turned out. There is in each of us something remarkably noble. Each individual must embrace that nobility, celebrate it and give it room to grow if one wants to fully understand life. If someone I love decides to ignore their nobility, prefers to make himself or herself small, because it may be scary or they might get hurt or they might have to actually work at something - well, it grieves me to see the waste, especially the loss of the gifts they might have brought to the world - but I will love them anyway. If they choose to openly hurt themselves or others in denying that nobility with chronic stupidity, self-absorption, intolerance, addiction or small spiritedness – or worse, expect me to agree - they will eventually leave me or I will let them go. But I never stop loving them. I don't know how.

Through these and hundreds of other lessons, I have learned much wisdom. I need no protector from life. I need no escape from life. I need no forgiveness for life. The forgiveness I need for my transgressions are from those to whom I have transgressed. I need no forgiveness from a god who cannot love me for being a person who had never - knowingly - planned, plotted, and executed the harm of another person. Through perfect love and perfect trust, I choose Life. The divine knows my heart and soul and mind. How can I give up to god, what I am here to bear, especially if that burden is mine to teach me that it is not a burden at all? If rejecting the philosophies of other religions and other gods put me in jeopardy of losing my soul, then I defend myself with love. I love and have been loved. Every concept of the divine understands this, even as I dismiss their rule books as having a Dark Age mentality. If love is not enough...then for me, there is no god.

© 2003 - 2010 Ardriana Cahill

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