The Weight of the World

The annual Halloween party has come and gone. This year, it was held the night of our epic moving sale. Epic in the sense that all living room furniture is gone and all bedroom furniture from our bedroom is gone save our bed. I watched it all drive off to new homes. Saying good-bye to bearers of memories and probably a few lost coins.

With last vestiges of energy, I was tasked with transforming our eight year old daughter into a rock star and our nine year old daughter into an ice fairy. After makeup and clouds of colored hairspray, I had a few minutes left to figure out how to transform myself. This is not the first year I have tried to convince myself that haggard mom of three is actually a costume.

I thought I carried the weight of the world. 

And then my husband came to my rescue. “Here,” he smiled, “wear this.”

Moments later, clad in combat boots, bloused pants, a old tattered bullet proof vest and a cap, I was ready to go. From haggard mother of three to tattered security guard. All evening, I clod around in the twenty pound boots and pulled on the twenty pound vest, threatening to strangle me.

I thought I carried the weight of the world.

“Is it normal to suddenly feel like you can’t breathe?” I asked my husband.

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s normal.”

As we said our good-byes, I fantasized about getting home and taking off the heavy vest and the weights on my feet. And then it struck me.

I thought I carried the weight of the world.

But I don’t. I carry the weight of my own little world. Dishes, laundry, carpools. And it gets heavy. But my law enforcement husband, the one who puts on these weights everyday actually does carry the weight of the world.

The kidnapper, the car thief. The hostile woman late for work. The guy with the felony warrant who has a tail light out but pulls a gun because he has far more to lose than a fix-it-ticket. The accident scene where a mother realizes her baby didn’t make it. The notification to the parents of the teenager who was going to fast and struck a tree and wouldn’t be graduating after all.

I discovered a valuable thing. Yes, the boots and vest are heavy. Not to mention the duty belt laden with tools of the trade. But they symbolize something that weighs even more. The commitment to do the hard thing. To serve the public and keep them safe whether they like it or not.

A heavy burden.

I thought I was tired before the party. I thought carting around those boots and that vest was difficult. But in a room full of fairies and rock stars, my boots and vest were just a costume. I could set down the weights at the end of the party and simply hold on to the pictures. Fun reminders of a another year.

But for those who really do carry the weight of the world, they need no help to remember. Sights and smells are imbedded in their memories. And all those faces and all those incidents are difficult to forget.

It must feel like the weight of the world.

 

photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/infinitejeff/69254223/

 



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