I had a conversation a while ago with my mentor, a gentle and very wise Catholic nun. We were talking about the depth of pain I carry at times, and the weight of it. What was done to me and the burden of that. We discussed John Monsell’s 1873 hymn, Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness. One line in particular I had been carrying: “Low at His feet lay thy burden of carefulness/high on His heart he will bear it for thee”.
Every now and again, my friend Maggie, who is a cat, will come and visit me, and for one reason or another, she will need a hug. She will present herself at my feet, and sit there until I pick her up and cuddle her. If I fail to notice her, she will simply jump, in the supreme and occasionally misguided confidence that I will catch her. She will purr, comfortable and safe and cherished against my chest, my arms around her. Comforted, and protected, and loved.
That’s what this hymn says too. All of those things that are too heavy to carry, that I want to let go of, that I need to let go of – those things I can’t lift anymore, those things I have no choice but to dump, low at the feet of Jesus, the manifestation of the unmanifestable Sacred force of the Universe – he takes. They are absorbed, willingly and lovingly, into the life of the Creator, of the Source of love and life. They are cradled, cherished, as something utterly precious and worthy of protection and nurture. As precious to the Divine as my friend Maggie is to me.
I’ve carried a lot of shit for a lot of years. I’ve carried it for so long I’m only just learning how to put it down without being sent sprawling at the removal of a burden I’d grown so used to that it had become a part of my being. It’s been a horrible burden, heavy and spiky and unsightly and shameful. I’m learning to let it be cradled in the heart of the energy of life that we call God.
And yes, I realise that “unmanifestable” probably isn’t a word. It is now.