It was as if her sheer will had moved one foot in front of the other on this long journey,up hills, down valleys, on rocky paths and smooth. And just as she had sighted the edifice, her foot slipped; her knee gave out on her as she stumbled. Her hands were so full, her load so heavy that she could not break her fall by her hands. It was the strength of her legs that kept her upright. Though fully extended and off balanced, she pulled herself back erect and continued forward.If only I can get there, I can put this down, she thought, panicking. Each step seemed to take twice as long as the last toward the end of her journey. But she could see the finish line, and the joy of arriving pulled her forward.
She barely made it into the building. Hands heavy and unable to use the handles on the door, she heaved the door inward with the full force of her weighted frame. It gave way easily and she entered. Blinded for a moment in the dim light, her breath caught in her throat in a second of panic and fear. Why am I here? she wondered, and her weary arms replied. As her eyes adjusted, she became aware of her surroundings. She noted the high arched, planked ceiling of the foyer leading to a long, stone hallway. At the end of the long hall sat an altar with a chiseled banner above proclaiming Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden.
All her dreaming, her seeking, her hoping, had amazingly materialized. This is what she’d come for. She was very aware of the burning muscles in her arms, barely able to carry it the full length of the hall. She took a deep breath, knowing relief was truly in her sight. It was no longer faith carrying her on, it was truth. Her legs were shaking at this time, and she was afraid that her load might fall to the ground, piece by piece, and she’d be picking it up, delaying her relief all the more.
With one final heave, she lifted her load up and out of her arms with the last bit of strength that she had inside her. It crumpled loudly on the table and began to sizzle and steam, dissolving before her very eyes. Her arms and hands were purple, bruised from carrying the weight for so long and so far; she clasped her trembling hands together and knelt in relief. I made it! she cried inwardly.
She must have sat there before the altar for several minutes before noticing that the hall continued off in another direction before it turned a corner. Curiosity began to creep into her weary soul, as she really had no idea what she would do now that she had released such a burden. She felt that she needed to know what lay beyond her view, down the hall and around the corner. There was a flickering light beckoning her forward.
Enjoying the use of her arms to ease herself upright once more, feeling free and light to do so without her heavy load, she picked her way cautiously down the hall. She first peered around the bend, though she sensed that she need not be afraid of anything here: here she had already seen such relief, here she already met her hopes. But the thirst for something more drew her into the small room around the corner from the altar.
She first noted that it contained a simple bed, neatly made, with a plain table beside it containing all manner of healthy goodies to eat and a pitcher of water. Along two walls of the room were windows with a tranquil landscape to view. A candle flickered in a sconce on the third wall, highlighting another chiseled phrase, And I will give you rest.
The idea of rest flickered like a delightful candle in her mind, as she suddenly felt famished and exhausted at the same time. She rushed as quickly as a worn out person could toward the table, piling grapes into her mouth, barely savoring the sweet tartness of the fruit. Her mouth dripped with juice. She smiled for the first time since she had begun collecting her burden. Not only was she free, but she was fed. She quickly finished off the rest and took a long drink straight from the pitcher. It was the coldest, most refreshing drink; she never knew such a drink could exist, as if she would never be thirsty ever again.
Taking off her shoes, she breathed in the beautiful view before her through the windows,and climbed into the now untidy bed. Before she could count to ten, she was asleep.
It seemed like she had slept for days, maybe weeks. But the sun was only a bit lower in the sky when she awoke, completely refreshed. She had never felt better. Her bruises were gone, and her arms felt light and alive. She sat up, stretching and yawning in her wakeful state. It was then that she noticed a simple chair in the far corner that hadn’t been there when she’d arrived. On it was a package wrapped in string and a note attached.
She excitedly climbed out of bed and, with renewed energy, whisked over to the chair, picking up the package. She knew it was proper to open the note first,so she tore open the envelope. The plain card contained the words Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,for I am gentle and humble in heart. And you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Her first impulse was to put the package back down in disgust. She didn’t want to take a chance on having another burden. She had just gotten rid of the one she’d been carrying. But another part of her wanted to trust the Giver of the package. He’d dissolved her burden, he’d fed her, quenched her thirst—he had given her a wonderful rest. Perhaps she should just see…
Timidly, she picked at the paper, until she’d torn off a corner, revealing something white and fluffy inside. Fluff being the opposite of burdensome, she made quick work of the wrapping to reveal a large set of white wings. Supposing she should put them on, and excited at the prospect of flying, she tried with all her might to put them on her back. No matter what she did, she could not maneuver her arms through the loops that would hold them on.
Desperate to wear them, now desiring with all her heart to fly, she leaned toward the window, hoping for a glimpse of her reflection in the glass. She saw it,horrified that she’d not even known it was there before: a large pack strapped to her back. It was huge. I can’t believe I didn’t even know it was there, she marveled. Taking it off her shoulders, she trudged it down the hallway toward the altar. Before laying it down, she peered inside. It was just another useless, heavy load, like the one she’d already left there. The weight of it amazed her as she heaved it up onto the table. It sizzled and dissolved away.
She now felt so light that she skipped around the corner to the room where she had rested and the wings awaited. Now I can put on the wings, she sang to herself. Her arms slid into the holders easily, and the wings were at once part of her,flapping at her will, each feather in tune to the desire of her mind. Would these wings actually carry her into the sky? Or would she just stay bound to the ground with an oddity strapped to her back?
She reflected on her long journey to get here, to release her burdens. She now felt so loved and cared for, like she never had before. Her dreams had turned to faith, and faith to deep belief. Now she knew what she must do. Feeling a surge of adrenaline, she opened the window, peering out over a many storied drop off below her. She climbed through the window to stand on the ledge; breathing deeply, she jumped.