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Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Backpack

I've long heard the backpack analogy.  Have you?  My quick version goes something like:

Feeling overburdened, someone begged to be freed of the weight on their shoudlers (seen figuratively as a backpack).  In a dream or vision the person pleading encounters Jesus Christ who accepts the person's backpack.  He takes it and tells the person, "I will take it.  In a few minutes, I'll take you to a room with new backpacks.  You can choose a new one because in life all the sons of men carry backpacks."

The person is relieved and waits a little while and then Jesus returns, takes them to a room full of backpacks and the person chooses one.  Jesus says, "Are you sure this is the backpack you want?"  The person is sure.  Jesus says, "This is the backpack you did not want.  Why do you want it now?"  Shocked, the person says, "All the other backpacks are bigger.  I was sure I couldn't manage those.  I guess mine isn't so bad afterall."

I've long accepted this story as truly representative.  However, as a result of some experiences in the last while, I believe this story conveys a fallacious view of reality.  I accept that I may be the only one who sees things as I do, but I'm going to share my perspective because I think it is much more accurate.

So, I think that everyone's experience is basically the same.  Do the same things happen?  NO WAY!  Of course, not!  But I think the changes required are often the same sorts of things.  For some the changes required are more than others.  For some the changes required much occur in a much shorter period of time.  So, those "backpacks" would, to me, look ginormous.  I actually think, though, that the weight of the backpacks is the same.

How could that be?

Well, let's look at it!  To travel, everyone needs all of the same basics.  Nitty gritty bare bones basics.  They are the same for all of humanity.  Then there are the things that each person needs because of their different needs... males have certain thing they need to carry to provide for themselves as do females.  Then there are those with physical ailments.  They have some different things, of course.  But everyone has something that is difficult.  Whether it's physical (and visible OR not).  Whether it's mental, emotional, spiritual, whatever.  Everyone has a disability.  Everyone!  Just like everyone has a gift.  EVERYONE is everyone.

All the things that are in the backpack for this life are the same.  I do think it's probable that some carry things from before (the pre-existence).  Maybe, superficially, things look easier and smoother in their life to others who are cumbered by physical problems that are outwardly obvious.  This does not mean that they weigh differently, overall, though.
Maybe one person has stronger spiritual muscles, so it seems that little phases them in that area.  But something else troubles them deeply and greatly that another deals with really well because of their inherent strengths.  This does not mean that the person who does NOT struggle spiritually does not struggle.  Just means their struggle is DIFFERENT.

I look at women who have children very close together and cannot imagine dealing with that since Father has planned this family and the children are all at least 2 years and a couple weeks apart (or more!).  So, my fire is not super heated... my backpack for child rearing is not weighted heavily by closely spaced children.  Does that mean that childrearing is a cinch for me?  Absolutely not!  My challenges are just much less obvious.

Perhaps all of the backpacks in the room actually carry the same weight.  Perhaps they are simply different colors, styles, and packed differently.  A pack with the sleeping bag packed on top feel very different from one packed on the bottom.  A pack with an external frame is different from one with an internatl frame is different from one with no frame.  Does that mean I could bear the pack of anyone else?

Certainly not.  That's not the point.  I know I need my backpack packed just the way Father has it for me.  I know I could not bear a single day with another's burdens because my "body" is made for the burdens I bear.

The point is more this: maybe we (I) should consider, when I look at to observe another in wonder and awe, that yes, they are probably wonderful in whatever way I have observed, but they struggle, too.  In that moment, I think it would be good and helpful to give thanks for the struggles I have.  To give thanks that my perfectly packed backpack, colored specially for me, tailor made and packed for me is mine!

The theory of relativity is not just a Scientific theory.

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