Invisible Burdens

*I wrote this post after some heart-wrenching conversations with and about students. All too often, we forget until burdens hit close to home: everyone needs to be seen. Whether you foster or simply interact with people, this is an important reminder…*

Today, I came in dressed like normal, talking like normal, acting like normal. I seem fine if you just glance, and then look away. In fact, I would rather you just glance and look away so I can go back to my game: it’s a little challenge I call “Hold It Together,” and I’m BARELY winning.

I focused really hard today on being normal. I know normal is something that should come easily and naturally, but it’s what you can’t see that makes it hard.

What you can’t see is all of the burdens I’m carrying that make it feel impossible to walk normally, stand normally, smile normally, feel normal. They are invisible, these burdens of mine, but they are far from light. You cannot see them, but I cannot escape them, and this routine is becoming far too normal for me.

If my burdens were visible and you saw me carrying them today, I have no doubt you would offer to hold the door, take a bag – or two- or all of them. You wouldn’t want to see me struggling beneath that weight and not do something about it. I know I could probably get more help if I would just tell you what I’m carrying, but I don’t really know how to do that. And I’m afraid to be seen…and afraid not to be.

If you will just glance, and then look away, we can both go back to our normal.

If you read between the lines of what I share, if you look into my eyes long enough to see the pain, if you listen closely enough to hear the faintest hint of heaviness in my voice, if you truly see me, then you will see them too…

the invisible burdens.

I want to think I can hold it together, but maybe

maybe you could help me carry this…or maybe you could hand me hope…


If only you could see me and my invisible burdens.