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Lifting Weights

I could never be an ant.
There is nothing like ant season here in Texas. I actively work to avoid any contact with bugs. The only crawling creature I can tolerate is the spider and that’s only because our goals line up a bit; I don’t like bugs and insects, the spider eats most bugs and insects. Thus, there is a tentative alliance between he and I. I don’t squash him, so long as he stays away of my bed, my bath and my body. Violation of said agreement results in the termination of the spider. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I don’t like creepy crawlies.
Ants are my special enemy. Mr. Spider gets my thanks when he keeps them away.
Ants tend to do group work. We’re talking about an organism that lacks individuality. There is no such thing as an ant. There are ants and ant infestations. Where there is one, ten thousands of his frat buddies are never far behind. Worse, they can carry several times their own weight. So they do this conveyer belt thing where they find, say, a cake, and form a line to and from the ant hill. One at a time, each ant takes a single crumb of cake and heads back home to that Queen of theirs.
I could never be an ant.
For one, I don’t living in holes in the ground. Another fun fact about me; I don’t like mundane and predictable routines. I’d be the ant that went freelance. The one that traveled saw a few flicks and hung out for a while with the bees before heading home. Maybe more importantly, I’m too weak to carry all that baggage.
Oy. Baggage.
I’m a lanky hundred pounds and some change. My arms have even been described as “twiggy.” Despite my size, I have a surprising amount of strength in both my arms and my legs. I can lift and carry a good amount of weight a fair distance before I get too tired to go on. Due to the amount of traveling I do, I’m used to lugging along large bags containing various items.
The airport is one of my least favorite places, and lucky me, I’m in one quite often. These days, when you travel, you’re permitted two carry-on bags that you can bring with you on the plane. Everything else has to be checked-in and the airport staff takes it and throws it in the cargo section of the plane never to be seen again until you land at your destination…or in some occasions just plain never seen again.
Being used to traveling, I’ve become an expert bag packer. I usually am prepared for just about every situation one could face at an airport. I’m like the soccer-mom of traveling; I have everything everyone could ever need at any given time when they travel. Usually, I carry a duffle bag containing various things, and my laptop bag containing my electronics and any work that I might have time to complete while I’m on the go. This is a long-standing system learned over many-a-travels over many years.
But it was not always so.
There was a time—maybe you know of it, some call it the teenaged years—when existence was simply painful. Travel was especially so, particularly around my shoulders and back. Why? Because I packed everything in my carry-ons. I mean, I used to lug around a good fifty pounds of stuff in a backpack that was stuffed enough to burst and then I had my laptop bag which had everything one never needed short of a zombie apocalypse. It could be theorized that my now incredible strength is due to the torture I put my limbs through dragging maybe one hundred plus pounds of useless junk around with me in all my travels.
Let’s face it, okay, I would make a lousy ant.
Anyone can be a little fatigued after a long trip. I usually fell out as if I did a Lord of the Rings journey across Middle Earth. All my muscles would be maxed out as if I spent the day at the gym (and I was a masochist). I’m actually thinking back on those years and I’m surprised my bones weren’t ground into saw dust at the mere weight of the bags I carried around. Even at school, my bag was disgustingly heavy. I mean, why on earth were text books that large anyway? My high school and college text books were always heavy enough to anchor a cruise ship in the ocean, each one with enough density to build a house with. And sure enough, I lugged all that junk around.
Moms are notorious bag-anchor carriers. Moms will have diaper bags and purses filled with the most random and insane items in the known world.
Why do we do this?
Why do we carry too much baggage? I doubt we have a secret love of clutter and Bengay. So what’s the skinny? Can someone explain it to me?
Here’s the worst part; we don’t just do this with toiletries and carry-ons, we do it with life. We fight and fight through the week, dealing with chaos, striking through our problems as much as we can with as much momentum as we can until our blessed day off where we try to relax and detox from the acidity of human existence. Yet and still we carry with us all the issues and problems, lugging it around, taking it out every once in a while like a magazine, reading through the articles of our troubles and putting it right back in the bag.
This isn’t playtime folks, we’re talking heavy duty carry-ons.
Your wife could have made an offhanded comment three days ago and it’s still gnawing at you like a rabid hyena. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the problems, dragging them behind us as we move through our days. It’s exhausting. The irony is we don’t need that junk! We don’t need the negativity and the stress. It strains us, saps us of our vital energy. Emotional stress can physically harm, draining our very bodies of their health.
We’re not ants. We don’t carry around several times our weight. It’s not the nature of a human being to be trapped in the routine of loads and baggage and stress. Baggage has no place in the life of a Christ-follower. Christ said to cast our burdens upon him Philippians 4:6 instructs us to stress less and pray. In all things, we are more than bodies moving through life. Stress only weighs us down.
Who wants to be a lousy ant anyway?

D. Sweet Loper



About D.A. Sweet Loper

Sweet Loper is the co-founder of Kontrolled Chaos, an Austin based nonprofit ministry for children, a children's ministry worker at Shoreline Church and a student at Concordia University Texas. She's also a sister to three brothers and a little sister, a dog lover, hobbiest and writer. She lives in Pflugerville with her dog and roommates. Sweet is on twitter @Sweetology with Kontrolled Chaos @Outofkontrol. Check out Kontrolled Chaos at www.facebook.com/ChaosKontrol.

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