Come all you weary with your heavy loads
Lay down your burdens, find rest for your souls
‘Cause my yoke is easy, and my burden is kind
I’ll take yours upon me, you can take mine.
— Thrice, “Come All You Weary”
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes. We find ourselves at the bottom of a hole with the weight of duties and responsibilities piling on top of us, and we begin to suffocate. We long for times when things were easier — when there weren’t so many bills to pay or mouths to feed; when we actually looked forward to checking the mailbox; when paychecks weren’t spent before they were even cashed.
There are moments when we wish we could be kids again — when things were simple. Of course, all of those things we are wishing away still existed then, too; they just existed in the lives of our parents and grandparents who did everything they could to make us happy and carefree. After you have a child of your own, your life makes that transition. You worry less about your own happiness and more about the happiness of this being that you helped bring into the world.
I had a hard time with that transition, and I’ve admitted as much. I wasn’t the best Papa I could have been when Liam first came into this world. I adored him, but I also spent so much of that time missing the life we could have had. I was so busy clinging to the past and wishing for an extension that I missed an unforgivable amount of the present.
I can never get back that time that I lost. But I can embrace what I have in front of me.
First, my wife: The Reader.
Every day I look at her and see a woman of unbelievable strength and patience. She is the kind of person who can see the best in anyone and will do everything she can to bring it out of them. She is infinitely approachable — the kind of person that so many pour their hearts out to and place their trust in. She truly cares for people — something that I realize is a rarity the more people I encounter.
Next, my son: Liam.
Every day I look at him and marvel at the very fact that he is alive and real. Anything I am dealing with becomes trivial. He gives me perspective. To know what he went through just to be alive … something as simple as paying off debts doesn’t seem so monumental. It’s just a fact of life — and certainly not something to waste any time arguing over.
On the days when it seems like the weight of the world is on our shoulders and it shows no signs of slowing — much less stopping — we need to remember why we do the things we do. Why we made the choices we made. We need to look around us and take everything in and realize how insignificant even the most difficult things are in the grand scheme of our lives.
I won’t remember our last argument over a late loan payment. I will, however, remember the day that Liam discovered his happy face or the day that my wife said “Yes” in front of the Newberry Library.
So we replace old happiness with new happiness — old fulfillment with new fulfillment. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is growth — healthy and natural.
And, if my wife has impressed anything on me in the last few weeks, it’s that I could certainly use a lot more “healthy and natural” in my life. But that’s another story.