Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Carrying the cross

I read a story ascribed to one Schiller, a German author that tells once upon a time long long ago birds did not have wings and managed to strut about on their legs. Then God in His infinite mercy threw wings at their feet and asked them to carry the wings on their backs. The birds felt that this was an imposition of a hard job and a burden. Nevertheless they obeyed God and carried what they thought were unwieldy wings. When the wings got attached to their body, they were surprised they could fly easily. What they thought initially a burden turned out to be a boon.

Many of the burdens we bear in life are not by our choice. We often bemoan that we are burdened with hardships more than our share. True things do not seem fair in life when we compare with others and the outcome is not based on the effort one puts in. We know very little of the divine design as the burden could be beneficial as in the above story or it could be to liquidate the past karma if you believe in Karma theory.

We cannot wish away many burdens. The attitude towards the burden can make them seem lighter. In the rural sides when technology had not appeared, the labourers, when they did heavy labour like lifting water from deep well or while dealing with heavy weights, sang a song in unison. The monotony and the heaviness of work would seem bearable. When life's problems seem overwhelming, a song , a prayer or a look around showing others coping with bigger burdens would do the trick
Sometimes we choose a burden willingly to help others in distress. We add burden to ourselves. Such burdens would turn out to be beneficial by divine blessings as the story below would show

“Sadhu Sundar Singh, a Hindu convert to Christianity, became a missionary to his people in India. Late one afternoon Sadhu was traveling on foot through the Himalayas with a Buddhist monk. It was bitterly cold and the wind felt like sharp blades slicing into their skins. Night was fast approaching when the monk warned Sadhu that they were in danger of freezing to death if they did not reach the monastery before darkness fell.

Suddenly, on a narrow path above a steep precipice, they heard a cry for help. At the foot of the cliff lay a man, fallen and badly hurt. The monk looked at Sadhu and said, "Do not stop. God has brought this man to his fate. He must work it out for himself. Let us hurry on before we, too, perish."

But Sadhu replied, "God has sent me here to help my brother. I cannot abandon him."

The monk continued trudging off through the whirling snow, while the missionary clambered down the steep embankment. The injured man's leg was broken and he could not walk, so Sadhu made a sling of his blanket and tied the man on his back. With great difficulty he climbed back up the cliff, drenched by now in perspiration.

Doggedly, Sadhu made his way through the deepening snow and darkness. It was all he could do to follow the path. But he persevered, though faint with fatigue and overheated from exertion. Finally, he saw ahead the lights of the monastery.

Then, for the first time, Sadhu stumbled and nearly fell. But not from weakness. He had stumbled over an object lying in the snow-covered road. Slowly he bent down on one knee and brushed the snow off the object. It was the body of the monk, frozen to death.

Years later a disciple of Sadhu's asked him, "What is life's most difficult task?"

Without hesitation Sadhu replied: ‘To have no burden to carry’."

"Be assured beyond all doubting,

In the trial you're passing through,

That the Lord's great love and mercy

Is at work for good in you."-



  1. Very nice. It reminds me of the the man and butterfly story. We are faced with burdens and problems to make us tougher and to learn to live life. I also believe God never gives us problems more than we can bear!

  2. Good one, KP. Everyone has some burden or the other, but it is always better to face life than bemoan its' travails.

  3. Nice thought for a meditation for the day!

  4. Whatever happens , happens for the best! But constant beating withers your spirit. Yet we turn to him for solace! That is his magic!