A Heavy Burden

Ball & Chain

“Alice, you’re your own worst enemy.”

“But Mom, they’re all smarter than me.”

“You think too much.”

“What else am I supposed to do?  Doesn’t everyone think all the time?”

“Not as much as you, honey.”

“Well, I’m still not going to try out for the debate team.”

“All your friends will be there.  You might have fun.”

“I tried out for the tumbling team and not only did I not make it, I was the laughing stock of the whole school.”

“Alice, you were not the laughing stock of the whole school. Just two mean girls.  Anyway, that was when you were in third grade.  You’re in

high school now.”

“I still remember what it felt like.”

Over the years I have been at the kitchen table with each of my sons, beseeching them to feel better about who they were or to take a chance

at a new sport.

I try to explain away comments made by soccer coaches that were volunteers and untrained, bullies that they wouldn’t even recognize

today, teachers that were forced to retire.

Always to no avail.

We get stuck trying to prove to these shadows from the past that we are good enough, smart enough, tough enough, dragging this heavy

burden, not seeing that the key to unlock this ball and chain is on our belt.  If only we would use it.

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One comment

  1. Jerry Antosh · · Reply

    Looks to me like you’re doing a pretty good job of using that key right now, Alice — putting all these experiences into words, reflecting on them, and listening to the lessons that emerge.

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