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: I'm No Atlas, but...  ( 7890 )
Rev. Elizabeth
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« : January 29, 2011, 03:56:14 PM »

                    I Am No Atlas...

-Sometimes I get tired of lifting heavy things. I mean. sometimes I wish I were just a little old lady, frail, delicate....you know. 
But no.  I can lift heavy things. I am not bragging. I work hard at it.  Now mind you, I am not talking about really heavy things..nothing over 60 pounds. But still. Right now I can bench 80 pounds for 3 sets of 10, but should I go on holiday for two weeks, well, the old muscles are right back to wimpdom.  Anyway. Thatís life and I start all over again. But, thatís beside the point. Sometimes I get tired of lifting heavy things. 
Like a few days ago when I came back from Costco; there was the 28 pounds of dog food and the 40 pounds of chemical for the water softener and 25 pounds of flour  all of which  had to be hauled from car to house--let alone from grocery cart to car.  Now, I am only 5í1í and shrinking.  Do you know what itís like for me to wrestle the  28 pounds of dog food and the 40 pounds of chemical  plus the mere 25 pounds of flour out of one of those supersized Costco grocery carts? Anyway, I had to haul all that  from car upstairs into house, then downstairs into basement. And then I had to pick up the water softener chemical, and   dump into the container which is almost as tall as I am.  Then there was still the 25 pounds of flour, and the gallons of water for the chickens...all in one afternoon. I mean...
 What a burden; what a responsibility, to be able to lift heavy things. Oh, I guess I could wait til my dear spouse came home and ask him to lift all the heavy stuff; but well, thatís giving in, being weak if not of body then surely of mind. Afterall, I can lift that stuff as easily as he can.
When I bought the dog food a the local hardware store most of the clerkís stopped offering  to carry out the dog food.They knew I would  just muscle it up and go.  At the feed store the attendant totes the 50 pounds of layer pellets on his shoulder as though it were a rag doll and dumps it in the car.  I thank him; and I think...and guess who is going to haul that into the barn, anyway?
Once we had a workman at the house removing the back porch.  He wanted to push the  floor up so it would separate from the house.(donít ask)
Hey, he said, Iím going to leave and come back when my partner can help me move something.
Whaddya have to move, my husband asked.
Well, he explained I want to remove the floor of the porch by pushing it up so it comes un-nailed.
Oh, replied by husband, my wife can help you., .
 Now you know this guy did not want this to happen. He wanted that coffeebreak. Nor did he want me, of all people, to be the helper.
So anyway I clambered  off the soon to be removed porch and he told me what we were going to do. On the count of three we pressed upward and there went the porch floor, totally detached.
He just looked at me--- he was decidedly not happy with me.  No coffee break that morning.
 When people ask what sort of strength training goals I have I say  that my goal is to be able to lift the 50 pounds of layer pellets when I am 90.  This usually stops people in their tracks.  They give me a strange pitying smile and move on.  Why not?  I think thatís a pretty good goal.   But then, I have always lifted heavy things.
 We all lift heavy things. Lifeís all about weightlifting, really; just sometimes the stuff we have to lift has nothing to do with snatches or clean and jerks  or  with bulk or mass but with the soul, the spirit, the  psyche.   Sometimes those heavy things arenít things at all, but ideas, thoughts,people, stories we listen to. And sometimes, they donít weigh anything.
A soft gray white light filtered through the piney woods.  In the distance a chickadee sang plaintively through the snowy silence, Ďteechur  teechur...íThere was no response. The only other sound was the crunch of my boots on the snow and the distant hum of buses warming up. The woods, the snow, the solitude were deep and powerful.  But that chickadeeís song, clear and sharp in those still woods was poignant, painful, despite its beauty.
Will there  be a time when there will be no chickadee song to break the snowy stillness? Will there be a time where there will be no birdsong  to bring us into the presence of something greater than ourselves?
 Iím not much of a  birder; I donít have a list of birds seen; I donít count birds in winter; but as far  back as I can remember I wandered about outside to  listen and look for birds. Standing in the woody area between our house and our neighborís,  just listening, and following, and finally seeing, brought me an indefineable delight.
But now, it weighs on me.  Will there be birds for future children to listen to and enjoy the way I did?  I cannot imagine spring without the song of the robins;  summer woods without the strident call of the ovenbird;  fall without the airborne conversations of geese as they travel about; a snowy winter woods without the chirp of busy chickadees of the grunting noises of foraging nuthatches.
The weight of  a silent, birdless woods is something I do not wish to pick up and carry,  but I do. I pick up those almost weightless creatures who are sources of delight and song and beauty and carry them in my heart. I  create habitat, feed wisely, share delight, observe.  These are my exercises; this is how I train to carry the heavy thought of a birdless world.
It was a weight I knew I had to pick up; it challenged me; intimidated me;  surrounded me with its density and mass. The weight of sadness is beyond measure.  There are no words that can alleviate such deep sadness; yet it was my responsibility to find words that would help lift that weight and cast it off. And blessedly,words came; the music soared; the stories shared by the guests brought smiles and tears and nods of recognition and remembrance. And then, it was over. I took my service book and  head bowed, walked down the aisle. I had lifted a great weight, and put it down and left it behind. The faces of the  people as they left showed that they too had been lifting a heavy weight and had found someplace  to put it down and move on, at least for a while.  Somehow, together,  we had managed to do it; feel the weight; evaluate it; lift it up, and then put it down in a place where, yes, we would go and have to lift it again, but amazingly, it would weigh less.
When I was a child we would make occasional forays into Manhattan, and one place we always stopped was Rockefeller Center.Towering over the avenue of gardens was a bronze statue of Atlas, head down shoulders bent, arms thrusting upward with vigor and power,  holding the world.  I am no Atas, but I have lifted heavy things; it isnít aways fun; sometimes I 've had to lift things for which I had absolutely no preparation, but I can lift heavy things, and it is good.

« : February 03, 2011, 05:46:38 AM Rev. Elizabeth »
Sr. Member
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« #1 : January 29, 2011, 05:58:29 PM »

This is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
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« #2 : February 02, 2011, 07:32:54 AM »

How inspiring, on many levels.  Thanks
Mike Raburn
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« #3 : February 05, 2011, 01:55:16 AM »

Atlas Shrugged?
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« #4 : February 05, 2011, 09:36:52 PM »

Painful, funny, uplifting all at once! Thank you!
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