The Things We Carry
A colleague’s father is ill and deteriorating every day. A friend just failed her second cycle of IVF. My son is struggling with the transition to his afterschool program. Our neighbor’s husband works in New York all week, every week. Our babysitter is worried about how she’ll pay for school. A friend’s child isn’t sleeping at night. I wake up homesick for my parents some mornings. A friend has been suffering from puzzling headaches for months.
The things we carry.
We all have these things — heavy and light — and we bring them with us everywhere we go. We bring them to work. They sit in the backs of our minds while we’re driving on the highway and drinking our morning coffee and sitting in meetings and churning on the elliptical machine. They’re often invisible, as we keep them to ourselves, tucked away in private and safe places.
I’ve been thinking about these things we carry lately during my interactions with dear friends and new ones…with colleagues and waiters and grocery store checkers…with strangers I pass on the street. And I’m finding that simply acknowledging that these things are there…whether I can see them or not…has helped me find more patience, practice more openness, and listen a little bit longer.
The things we carry (or maybe just the fact that we’re all carrying something) connect us, unite us, and help us love more. So if you’re like me — prone to impatience and judgement, and trying to let these things go — think about what the people you know and the new people you meet might be carrying around. This simple shift in thinking just might lighten your load.