Responsibility: The Easy Burden

By Kersley Fitzgerald

This fall I was in a bit of a funk. No real reason. A lot of demands on my time, not a whole lot of opportunity to goof off. JT starting a new school, busyness at work, ever more restrictive diet. Just a lot going on. Plus three trips in a little more than a month. Trips to see people who would want attention.

The second trip was to California. I'm Oregon born and bred, and had proudly never been to California except the airports to and from Hawaii. That changed in early December. It was my friend's birthday, and I seriously owed her a trip. So I landed in Santa Barbara and waited for her to pick me up.

'Cus she's always late. Which I kinda love about her.

But she came, with her two youngests — the girls. We had dinner at a pseudo-Hawaiian place, wherein I made many runs for napkins and spoons. We wandered around a mall, where I convinced the three-year-old that the most important thing in the world was to carry our sack filled with tea. And looked around a kitchen shop, wherein I got pee from the 13-month-old's blow-out on my sleeve. No biggie.

When we got back to her place, her husband and their oldest, the boy, were already home. Over the next week, we went to the beach, went to Hearst Castle, went to Trader Joes, went to Solvang, went to church. I folded laundry, cleaned the kitchen, shoved crackers in faces, and taught the baby how to walk in sand. Except for the trip to Hearst Castle, we were surrounded by kids the whole time. Demanding kids who demanded stories and juice and bites of their mom's birthday brownie sundae. Loud kids who fought and growled and screamed when their diapers were changed. Active kids who decided bouncing and sliding off my air mattress was the most wonderful thing in the world.

I came home more refreshed than I've ever been in my life.

Not because I suddenly discovered my role in life was really to have lots of babies and homeschool. But because for five days I had no responsibilities. I didn't have to get the Blogos newsletter out or help JT with homework or learn that guitar part for that song I am never going to get down. I was with people whose main goal was to enjoy me for the time I was there — and me them. And eat my friend's amazing cooking. I mean, she made cream of potato soup with no milk — just for me. Turns out bacon-grease roux is a wonderful thing.

Yesterday I attended a staff meeting for the sex-trafficking recovery ministry I volunteer with. They showed a video by Bob Goff and talked about how their goals were to tighten up, do what they were supposed to do, and not worry about what wasn't their responsibility.

It so echoed my renewed heart I wondered if they were stalking me. Going for a week with no responsibilities gave me a clarity about what my responsibilities really are. What things I need to shoulder the emotional weight of, and what aren't my concern. There's a lot of stuff out there I don't need to do and a lot more I don't need to feel guilty about not doing. It's not all cream pies and fairy tales, because it also shows me what I need to have more focus toward — things that are my responsibility and I need to do well. But it is simpler, which is something I always appreciate.

In Matthew 11:30, Jesus says "my yoke is easy and my burden is light." It took five days without responsibilities to realize that if a burden is heavy, I'm either making it heavier than it should be or I'm taking a burden I shouldn't.

And that sometimes teaching little toes to walk in the sand is the most important thing in the world.

Tags:   |  Christian-Life  |  Personal-Life

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Published 1-7-14