AS LONG AS I HAVE YOU, I’LL CARRY YOU
There was a point where Mitch was on the razors edge of ability and disability. This was the point in his life he began to witness his physical strength slip through his fingers like sand on a windy day. No matter how much he tried to keep his strength, it simply would not stay.
Because he seemed vaguely normal, it was easy for others to dismiss his physical needs. Mitch often grappled with whether or not he should drive his scooter or try to walk. For a while he asked his mom or myself to carry him so he could go distances, then be set down to walk on his own and not stand out from the crowd. He wanted to feel normal as long as possible. Natalie, his tender mother, spared no inconvenience to help him feel normal and empower him to be all that he could be.
On this day I remember hearing Mitch ask in his soft voice, “Mom, will you carry me?” Natalie whispered, “Oh Mitchie, as long as I have you, I’ll carry you.” I’ll never forget how Mitch smiled as he wrapped his arms around his mom and how she carried him down a sidewalk. Mitchie smiled at me as if to say, “Dad, I’m the lucky one.”
I cannot remember a single time Natalie ever complained about caring for Mitch. That’s what love does, you see: it turns burdens into blessings. Sure there were days of exhaustion and discouragement, even moments of grief and fear. But in the end, caring for our little boy meant we still had him - and having him was worth the weight of everything.
Sometimes when I look at all that weighs heavy on my shoulders I can be tempted to think my burdens are my enemy … after all, they hurt and they’re heavy. But when I quiet my heart and try to look at life through heaven’s lens, I know whatever burdens I encounter are not only tender teachers … they are my friends.
Still, when I examine my life honestly, I wonder why my Father even puts up with me – a soul so rebellious and proud as mine. The child in my heart wonders if I’m more work for Him than is worth it. Then, like a whisper, I feel a nudge back to this moment with my wife and son. I remember how much I love my child, no matter how broken he might have seemed; my love for him is infinite and stretches to eternity.
If I would carry my son gladly … patiently … might my Father do the same to me? Something tells me we’re all being carried in ways we cannot yet see.
Perhaps, when all is said and done, we’ll look back on our lives ... hardships and all ... and say, just like little Mitch, “I’m the lucky one.”