Posts Tagged ‘self-responsibility’

the presence of burden

December 3, 2010

We all carry loads of weight and worry through life. Some are emotional packages of haunted pasts. Others are physical wounds lodged within our bodies resulting from those uncompromising rules of cause and effect. More are mental burdens that grow heavier and lighter depending upon whether we sail into winds of fortune or disaster.

I am currently living in a place of fortune. My physical ailments are minimal and amenable to spiritual intervention. I am as securely employed as anyone can be these days and my salary meets my expenses and debts and allows me to save for retirement with grateful awareness. My emotional baggage is a matter of personal choice, but the mental acrobatics I am performing to dodge the cannonballs people are firing at me lately are exhausting.

There are loved ones in my life who are victims (some of it self-inflicted) and walking on that dangerous border between feast in a warm shelter or famine under a twinkling cold night sky.
My 20/20 hindsight can clearly see that they should have made different decisions and wonders “where was their foresight?”

These family members have turned to me to help them with their situations. A part of me wants to help, while another part of me is fiercely protective of the life I have created for myself. Some errant wisdom in me says that my helping them would interfere with their growth process . . . that if I patch up their situations, they will just continue to make bad decisions, not learn to take care of themselves, and forever remain ignorant of how resourceful they can truly be. Another nagging wisdom points out that they need support and I have resources that can help them . . . but at a price to me and my security.

I stumble over what my responsibility is to them. What is my obligation to the people and creatures I witness in distress? Is it my duty to share my blessings in an existence that is not fair? (Note to self: I worked hard and sacrificed much to get these blessings.)

My ability to make life fair for my loved ones is limited by their efforts to make life fair for themselves. Nothing about the situation feels good: my heart hurts for myself if I help them and hurts for them if I do not. I do not delude myself with the fantasy that if I help them now, they will help me in the future should I need it.

I think I will let the spirits duel it out.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass