Precious one, you had to grow up so fast, didn’t you?
You were so young when they handed you such a heavy box to carry. A box filled with secrets, lies and shame. It contained the weight of the world, and your job was to protect it. To never put it down.
It was your responsibility, wasn’t it? To keep everything hidden away in the box.
While other children played in fallen leaves under autumn skies and laughed with gleeful abandon, you sat with your box as you watched and longed and imagined the feel of grass under your feet. But you were so scared of what might happen if you put the box down, even for a moment, and so there you remained—too grown up to play childish games.
And at night when crickets chirred under skies mantled with glistening stars, even then you would lie awake—too afraid to fall asleep, because if you did you would fail.
This was your burden to carry—to be the keeper of secrets.
It was up to you to keep the secrets safe.
As you grew you hoped the box would become easier to hold, but over the years you shoved your own secrets into it—the abuse, the neglect, your lies, your manipulations, your deceits, masks you wore, things you did.
Your box was laden with coping mechanisms needed for you to survive, but you didn’t know that back then. It was your box of shame, and your weary body crushed under the weight of it.
Childhood passed, games and play and laughter forsaken for seriousness, solemnity and maturity.
You were left to look after yourself, weren’t you? You had to learn self-reliance when you were still so small.
But you learned, didn’t you? You learned to do it on your own, to not need anyone or anything; you learned to hold it together. Even when you wanted to cry, to scream, to fall apart. Even when you longed to surrender, to trust, to love, to be loved. Even then, you stayed strong and in control.
You never let go of your self-sufficiency. You never let go of the box. You never fell apart. You did what you had to do.
But now your bones ache and your muscles burn and your hands shake from the cold. Your legs are weak under the weight of all you have carried. You are forlorn from years without laughter. Depleted from such little sleep. Withered from worry, from care, from strain.
Beautiful woman, lay down your box.
It was never yours to carry. The secrets were never yours to keep. The shame was never yours to bear. The burdens were never meant to be carried upon your shoulders.
Lay it down.
Whisper words of truth to the precious child within. Tell her she can let go now. Tell her she is safe. She is safe to find joy, to laugh, to play, to trust, to love, to be loved.
Lay the box down, beloved, for it no longer serves you.
Leave it behind and walk the new path before you.
You are free. You are free.
Author: Kathy Parker
Image: Priscilla Westra/Unsplash
Apprentice Editor: Brianna Miller; Editor: Toby Israel