Some Things Can Only Be Carried
Originally published April 13, 2016
Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried."
– Megan Divine
That quote. So much wisdom in so few words.
When I first read it, I breathed it in like ocean air. I read it over and over again, allowing each word to be soaked up like water to a sponge.
Some things can only be carried.
I want to be well. As long as I’m sick and fighting this disease, I will crave wellness and pursue healing. I will continue to try new treatments as needed, listen to messages my body sends, and care for my soul.
But I cannot fix my disease in the same way that I can unclog a drain.
I miss the ability to be more active, to explore more freely, to eat the foods my body now reacts to. I grieve the loss of freedom and the limitations my illness has set.
Yet I cannot take away the sense of loss the same way I can pull weeds from the soil.
So many of the harder things in life involve complicated healing timelines. There’s no road map to grief. There’s also no single cure that will eradicate every sick person. We can’t wish away the scars, the bruises, the tender parts of our wounds.
Going into fix-it mode seems to be our go-to when we are faced with hardship. Somewhere along the way we learned to believe the answer was to fix our situation or even the circumstance of someone else. We label the emotions that often feel all-consuming as “stuff we need to get rid of.”
Maybe the desire to get it together comes in the form of a new cure we just have to try. Or maybe it comes out that we aren’t grieving the right way and someone wants to change us. Someone else thinks we aren’t embracing enough hope or wanting to be healed and that’s why we aren’t better.
In response to so many remedy motives, I’ve endured many bouts of shame along this fight with illness. Some sparked by well-meaning, but unhelpful words from others. But many others that I’ve put on myself or learned somewhere along the way.
The root of the shame I feel? This subconscious belief I battle that I need to be fixed.
I’m bruised from the trauma. I’m still sick. I have scars from loss, tenderness from dismissive doctors. My dreams can be scattered with nightmarish memories of ER visits.
Each of these, and many others, have become a part of my story.
I can spin my wheels trying to find a way to fix the broken pieces I’m left with, but what if I am missing the bigger picture?
What if some things were meant to be carried?
These sums of a greater part of my story, are just that: they are pieces of my reality, not flaws.
They are writings of where I’ve been, stories of my present struggle. They spark a flame of hope for my future, for healing of all kinds.
Together, they have contributed to who I am today.
The pain has shown me a strength I never knew I had. The scars of loss have increased my compassion and empathy.
My sickness has spurred me to seek out what I most value in this life. It’s also given me time and space to pursue a dream I’d buried for years.
The less I struggle to fix my emotions and circumstances, the more free I am to embrace where I’m at. I learn to carry the things I cannot fix and let go of the things that hold me down as I walk, even crawl toward the future.
Carrying my sickness doesn’t mean I have given up on healing. It means that I’ve accepted it’s a part of my life for now. I can shoulder it’s weight as I connect with others who are suffering and allow what it’s taught me to share compassion and understanding with them.
Carrying my grief doesn’t mean I don’t have room to also embrace joy, laughter, and goodness in my days. But it does give me permission to feel and process my grief as I need to. Instead of shame for my tears, I can give myself grace and acknowledge that my losses are all as real as my joys.
So maybe some things in life can’t be fixed…at least not yet.
Perhaps by throwing them over our shoulder and bringing them with us, they become a part of what makes our souls more real and our hearts more relatable.
And for the burdens that are too heavy to bear alone, we can remember that we have each other.
Read more by Kami at her blog, Living Grace: Finding Life in the Desert