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You Are Given What You Can Carry

“You are given what you can carry” is a phrase that has supported me all through my healing journey.

I heard this phrase when I was thirteen or fourteen.  I’d had feelings characteristic of adolescence, but was not aware of the undercurrent childhood issues that were affecting my unsettled emotions. 

One day, our class advisor, a Japanese nun, spoke to us students.  I can’t remember when or in what context this happened.  I remember nothing but the phrase.

“You are given what you can carry.”

“Hmmmm, is that so?” was my reaction.  It didn’t touch me or satisfy me. It only felt like a new idea, and slipped out of my mind quickly. 

It wasn’t forgotten, however.  

Several years later, my childhood issues started to kick in as a blanket of foggy self-disgust. When I was feeling down, confused, lost, alienated, and frustrated being unable to expect any comfort coming to me, I heard a whisper from somewhere: “You are given what you can carry.”  

Oh!  Then, I can carry this?!  It struck me with a surprise.  

Since then, I have heard the phrase many times whenever I felt stuck at a dead end.  When the hurdle felt too high, it even expanded to “a very hard test has come to you, because you can do it,” allowing me to feel good about myself in the middle of the adversities.

I have found I was carrying exactly what I was able to; no more, no less – just right.

The phrase never gave me an easy way out that I wished for.  However, it did give me the acceptance, patience and perseverance I needed to break through the hardships I was in.  

It is a trustworthy phrase I have walked with all through my journey.

If you are feeling too heavy, how about giving it a try?  Whisper to yourself, “You are given what you can carry.” 

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