I am a 'helper' I naturally want to 'fix' things (so says my enneagram)... I want everyone around me to be happy, well fed, comfortable and taken care of. I am an Italian grandmother trapped in a twenty somethings body. However, this doesn't always lead to the most healthy version of myself.
The other day Drew looked at me and said, "babe" (yeah... we are that annoying couple that calls each other babe... but not like ALL the time so don't judge) "you aren't a backpack! Stop acting like one." I was completely confused, a backpack? Analogies are my thing, not Drews, so needless to say I looked back at him with a quizzical expression. "You aren't a burden. You are my person and I am here for you, but don't put yourself on my back, you aren't something I am forced to carry, I choose to be with you and support you." Then I understood what he meant. I am not a backpack, I am not a burden to bear...
How often do we place things on our own backs? I'm not talking like, putting the team on your back (HMD), I am talking about carrying other peoples problems like your own when you can't fix them. I do this ALL of the time, with my friends, family, community and coworkers. I take on their problems, making it nearly impossible for me to deal with the weight of my own.
I am reminded of a parable (ok, I know, but listen). There was a pilgrim who went on a journey. When he set out on this journey he had a giant rucksack (olden day version of a backpack) strapped to his back, weighing him down, making the trip arduous and slow. As he went along he was met with obstacles and his choices added to his burden, making a hard journey even more difficult. Finally, in a place of brokenness he realized that he was carrying these things for all the wrong reasons. He didn't need to keep all of this added weight strapped to his back; he could let it go. And so he chose. He removed his burdens, stood to his feet, and continued on, free and uninhibited.
We get to choose. You are free. I am free. You are not a backpack. I am not a backpack. We are not Dora the Explorer guys... we don't sing songs and play with our backpacks. We don't need to carry the cares of the world on our shoulders. We aren't in bondage. We aren't slaves to our universe, we are free to stand up and go through our days, backpack free.
It is a hard. It will take time, but I believe in us, we can clean out our baggage and let go of that which we no longer need to hold on to. Sooner or later you will realize the only backpack you are carrying is camo colored and made by Poler.