Burdens and Blessings: A Blurry Boundary

Thought I’d start with a little alliteration today… 🙂

Today’s mental meanderings took a path full of twists, turn, forks, cobwebs, and cute bunnies. When does a burden become a blessing? When does that blessing become a burden? As I write this, I’m listening to a song with a line that goes “I’m taking a journey through a brutal but wondrous land.” That line resonates with my thoughts today.  How many of our blessings turn into burdens? What causes the metamorphoses? Here’s an example:

A long time ago, I used to do martial arts. I was getting pretty good and my master was talking to me about opening my own studio and becoming a martial arts teacher. The use of my body became a central point of my life, and I reveled in what I could do. As I was preparing for my next level of achievement, I had a terrible accident in which I tore three of the ligaments in my knee. I remember the doctor telling me that I could do martial arts again, but I would be seeing a lot more of him– meaning that my knees would never be the same. My life as I knew it changed that day. The strength and flexibility in which I had reveled were gone in an instant. My body suddenly became a burden. I had to wear various knee braces for years, and I remember coming back from my honeymoon (about 6 years after the accident) and becoming unable to walk for more than 10 minutes without excruciating pain. Soon after that, I had reconstruction surgery and eventually healed. However, my knee has never been the same. To this day, I am unable to run. Walking is a bit of a challenge on occasion, although that’s somewhat due to the weight that I gained because of my decreased mobility. The body I once loved and reveled in is still a burden on many levels.

But let’s turn that burden inside out and look at the blessings I’ve experienced because of the change in my focus. Here’s a partial list of some of wonderful things that have happened:

  • I poured my energy into working with the teens in my church as a mentor and teacher through the awful adolescent years
  • I learned how to lift weights and develop other physical abilities
  • I gained an understanding of other people’s disabilities and how it’s possible to feel young and strong inside a broken shell
  • I completed two advanced educational degrees
  • I met my beloved husband, had two incredible children, and ended up relocating to a part of the country that was once only a dream
  • I was able to forge an adult relationship with my parents and brother
  • I found a career that I would never have thought I could do: teaching. (Remember how my master had wanted me to teach? Coincidence?)
  • I met my cherished best friend and her family and discovered new depths to love that I never imagined were possible
  • I gained the courage to fly higher that ever before, supported by the love of people whom I would never have met had my life not changed through the miracle of that accident

So what is the lesson here? Burdens and blessings are simply opposite sides of every experience. Perspective and attitude is what changes one into the other. I could stay bitter about so many accidents, failures, and disasters in my life, but what is the point? The Universe wants us to be happy, to laugh, and to love. It’s our choice to perceive events as good or bad, miracle or disaster, blessing or burden.

Do I wish my body worked correctly? Sure. But am I willing to lose the compassion I have gained, the insight I can offer, and the love I can experience to have a piece of flesh restored? NO!

Take a look at the burdens in your life and use the magic in you to make them blessings. You have the power as well as the magic wand.

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