I did not intend to make this post or video about some Lenten theme, but after creating it, I realized it hit on the desert/wilderness theme of the coming season. It’s a very short story – kind of a parable of sorts. I hope you find it encouraging. (transcript below video)
On a different note, it’s been a rough weekend. Please pray for me and my family. We’re all right, just need prayer.
Halfway through the desert, I found him, standing at the top of a sand dune. With my net full of rocks, I struggled to the top of it and fell at his feet.
“I have been looking for you everywhere,” I said. “I thought you had left me.”
He looked down at me, neither smiling nor frowning.
“Please,” I said, “This desert is hot and I am exhausted. Take this burden away.”
But he simply stood there, silent against the wind.
“I’ve been carrying them for so long,” I said. “Even just a few taken out would ease my load. I would be so grateful.”
Still, he said nothing.
“I know you can,” I pleaded. “I have faith. I know nothing is impossible for you.”
Still, only silence.
Prostrate on the ground, I dropped my head to the sand.
“I can’t do this,” I told him. “It is too much for me. Is there nothing you can do?”
At this, he dropped to his knees and helped me sit up.
“I will not take your burden away,” he said. “You can’t see it now, but every step you take with it deepens your wisdom, broadens your compassion, and brings you closer to the goal of all life. But I can give you something that will help, that no one can take away from you.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a bright, small marble, that glistened in the sun.
“This is hope,” he said. “When you are locked inside prisons others have put you in or that you have created for yourself, it will pull the ceiling off to let you see the sun and stars above you. When you are climbing a cliff, it will pull your leg up to the next toe hold and lift your hand to grasp the ledge above you. When you are alone and cold, it will warm you like a soft fire burning a few feet away. When you are lost in the dark, it will shine even more brightly to show you the path ahead.”
I held the small thing in my hand. How light hope felt, as though I were holding air. It seemed it could blow away in a moment, and yet it clung to my palm, not even rolling around in it. And as I held it, I felt my weak knees strengthen and my weary back straighten up. The sun did not feel so scorching and the air did not feel so painfully dry.
“Will I have to carry these rocks forever?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “Just until they finish their work in you. And I will take back the gift I have given you now because hope will be fulfilled.”
This was not what I wanted to hear, but I knew that it was true. I looked off into the distance towards the ocean, and I knew that I would make it there.
We said our goodbyes, and I continued, step by step, grasping tightly to my burden in one hand, and grasping tightly to hope in the other.
©2021 Catholic Anonymous
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