by Kenneth Braswell
A few years ago I was headed to a book signing pulling a large roller bag behind me through the Washington DC streets. The bag was packed with about seventy five books. As I was walking I kept switching the bag from hand-to-hand. Half way to the convention center I realized my arms were becoming extremely tired and I was breathing hard. Yet, I kept pulling.
As I got closer to the arena I begin saying to myself, “man, I need to get in shape. I can’t even pull a roller bag of books a few blocks”. When I arrived in front of the arena, I found a spot to sit. By this time I was exhausted. I looked down at the bag and realized that one of the wheels was broken. For the entire time I thought I was pulling the bag on the rollers; I was actually and literally dragging it across the concrete.
At this point even if I wanted to carry it, my arms were too tired to lift it. So I took a few minutes more before I began dragging it through the convention center, up two flights, down two very long hallways and across the exhibit floor. All of floor covered with carpet.
When I got to the exhibit area I sighed with relief and prayed I would sell all the books so I wouldn’t have to drag them back to the hotel. Well by the end of the day I had only sold two books. It was hard to compete with the Dwayne Wades, Colin Powell’s and other high profile celebrity authors of the world in the same space. Anyway, I digest. Just before the panel I began thinking about having to buy another bag. But, as I sat there looking at the bag attempting to will the strength to drag the bag back to the hotel, I noticed that the wheel wasn’t broken; it had just fallen off track. I sat down, placed the wheel back on track, and the bag became manageable to pull again.
Later on as I thought about the day, God revealed this to me. Sometimes in life as we go about our days; our burdens become hard to carry. Before you know it your body is weary and your will begins to break. Often times to the point of pure exhaustion. Yet because of the need and desire to move forward you continue to drag your life along. And on occasion when you stop to self examine; it may seem like the mechanism you use to carry your life is broken; or the piece that is supposed to make it easier is not working.
Other times, we simply give up. We determine the bag is broke, dismiss it and immediately begin looking for another bag. In the most extreme cases, we even take it out on the bag. We drag it anyway, determine it to be useless and despise its very existence. We never consider that everything that looks broke, feels broke or acts broke may not be broke; it may just be off track.
Sometimes our lives fall off track. Things we dreamed for, prayed for; even worked for don’t turn out the way we hoped. At worst, we bury, ignore and deny how we feel about it. Often not realizing how hard we’re living until the pain overtakes us and calamity occurs. Then, in an instance, more pain overtakes your ability to access and rationalize your condition, thus leading you to use dysfunctional information to respond in a misdiagnosed and irrational way.
God doesn’t place anything on you unbearable to handle. What seems to be broken in your children, spouse, job, relationship and even spiritual life; may just be off track. Take time to examine the things that cause you hardship. Surround yourself with people who can see the beauty in your value; not the ugliness of your faults. You are fearfully and wonderfully made with a flawless design and meaningful purpose. There are more things in your life that are fixable, than things beyond repair. Seek ways to simply place them Back On Track.
God is amazing and so much more! I just happened to be listening to the morning news and overheard a seldom discussed topic being addressed by a prominent African-American. The topic was ‘Black Fathers’ and the struggles that we face in raising our children and overcoming the inaccuarate perceptions that many have of us. The timing of the telivised discussion was a God-send because I’m in the midst of a pending divorce which has led to my teenage daughter choosing to side with her mother and deem me unnecessary in her life. I’ve been blessed to overcome some major setbacks in my life but being cast aside by my baby is undoubtedly the most painful of them all. The challenge of dealing with this, my pending divorce and being unexpectedly laid off from my job of 10 years, has been compounded by the isolation of being a black man with with limited support resources. I internalize my struggles because I’ve been taught to remain quiet and plow ahead. Black men historically struggle with being honest if/when we share our day to day challenges, especially those that pertain to our families. I trust in God to bless my situation. I have no idea how this will occur but I was immediatley uplifted when I heard about Fathers Incorporated. The posts are uplifting and inspiring. We do not necessarily create our struggles and it’s encouraging to know that we do not have to overcome them alone. Thank you FI.