There is a classic short story about war by Tim o' Brien called "The Things They Carried" which captures the rhythms of war and the responsibility of each human by the certain things they carry to move the battle forward. The short story is nice, but the title holds fascination, simply because the question is one I ask myself weekly, sometimes almost daily.
What am I carrying?
What do my hands and arms carry, building and creating?
Am I being USED to build the kingdom by the things I carry?
Do the things I carry weigh me down or lift me up, filling me with buoyancy and grace?
And, what of my heart? What rhythms, wonder, and wisdom does my heart carry?
I'm a big fan of artist Minerva Teichert. She was independent, filled with voice, and gave a full offering with her time, gifts, and talents.
Pioneers Arriving is one of my favorites. I mean, look at the posture of this pioneer woman! Look at the beauty of her colored carpet bag, gripped with such guts and grace!
The woman in the painting holds a special place in my heart, as well as on the front cover of my current journal.
The first time I saw this woman and her beautiful carpet bag, I wondered---what is she carrying in that bag?
Soft jingling silver spoons.
Words on paper in swirling handwriting.
Pictures reminding her of those who traveled before her, giving her strength for her own steps.
Pieces from the landscape she left behind.
But the longer I look at the woman and her bag, the less it matters that I know what she is carrying. The strength shows in her face.
Look at the vibrancy Teichart gives this bag. Bright. Authentic. Beautiful. Perhaps symbolic of this woman's steps, life, and heart.
Can you imagine this woman's bandwidth? Her elegance? Her strength?
And here in this painting, she arrives.
As women who believe in Christ, disciples who are walking the earth at this time, we're asked to carry certain things to move the work of the kingdom forward.
Recently, as I have walked, hiked, biked, and talked with dear women and young women, I stand in great reverence for the things they carry.
Their bandwidth is bountiful.
Their elegance comes from their steady stream of strength.
What things are you carrying?
What is carrying you?
Are the things you're carrying the things YOU want to carry?
How much of what you're carrying belongs in someone else's hands and arms?
Do you claim what you're carrying with joy or burden?
The answers to these questions will begin to knot the thread to YOUR story.
Write it. Pray it. Ponder it. Share it.
Give it 10 minutes of words on a page.
Remembering is not forgetting.
Write it to remember.