There is a story about a family man returning from the day’s work, feeling exhausted, lost in his anxieties and worries for the future of his family, questioning his ability to feed them and provide a secure home to keep them sheltered and safe altogether. Going deeper and deeper in his negative thoughts about the future, he felt a horrible weight pushing down on his heart and his shoulders – he was totally despaired.
It was not long before tears started dropping down his scarred face, straight from the darkness that had suddenly taken over his soul. His weeping eyes turned to the icon of the Cross that his father had wept some many times before, when he himself was young, taking part in a very similar round of anxieties about the future of his own family back then.
Feeling hopeless and helpless, he let himself lie by the side of his bed, tears still forming on his wet eyes. It was not too long before sleep took over him…
He dreamt about himself, carrying a very heavy load, a bag weighting excessively upon his shoulders. He was barely walking, as each step was almost impossible to make. After just a few very painful steps, a man touched his back and made him turn back and look at him.
The stranger asked him:
- What are you carrying in that heavy bag of yours my brother?
The other man replied:
- I don’t know, I have been carrying it ever since I remember myself.
- Well, why don’t you open it and see what is inside?
- That’s not a bad idea. Let me have a look…
He laid the heavy bag against a rock, making his shoulders feel light after a very long time.
- Well, open it up! let’s see what you have got there!
The bag had many packs inside it. One, the biggest of all, had a sign on top saying “ These are your worries ten years from now”. A smaller pack, next to it, was carrying a similar label saying “these are your worries five years from now”. Yet another quite smaller pack was labeled “these are your worries one year from now”. Finally, a small pack the size of the man’s hand had a label saying “this is a day’s worth of worries – this is as much as you can hold each day. Take this and leave everything else behind”.
The man woke up amidst the dream, feeling enlightened both in his heart and in his mind. He was pretty sure he had received a very clear message as to how much load he should carry each day and how many worries were simply not to be considered within the day’s time span. He could still allow some tears to run freely down his eyes, though these tears felt very different from the ones before. They were warm and soothing to his heart. He felt thankful.
Suddenly he felt that he knew exactly what he had to do with his past worries, and how he could do it. He glimpsed once more to the Cross above his head and thanked his father for hanging it there long before his son was even born.
He now knew he would be taken care of…
Adapted from many similar teachings on the value of Carrying a Day’s Load and not allowing the mind to ponder over worries extending longer than that.