I haven’t written story format in a long time– but I’ve felt it pressing upon my heart to write this for quite some time. I keep getting this vision to write, and I set out this morning with only a glimpse of what the story was going to be. As I wrote, it just kept taking new turns and new twists– here is the finished product. Hope you enjoy!
Imagine you are moving, all by yourself. No one is able to help you and it’s getting late in the day. You have to be out of your old place before dark, and the sun is setting now. You are carrying as much as you can, armfuls at a time out of your old place to put in the truck you rented.
As you exit your old apartment building, you have your arms full of your stuff. You are trying to get out the door, and people keep passing you, no one willing to help you carry the load in your arms.
It’s like you are invisible to everyone around. You even say to somebody “can you hold that door for me please?” And they ignore you–maybe they didn’t hear you.
So you press on, not willing to stop because you have a very limited amount of time to get as much as you can.
You are burdened down with life and burdened down with fear and angst, wondering how you are going to survive this move, and wondering where you are going to go now. After all, you don’t even have a new place yet.
You just know that the building is getting demolished tomorrow and you have to get out. They are going to make a new shopping center right over the ground you have called home for the past 20 years. No one asked you, no one gave you the decision to make, it was all said and done before you heard the news.
You throw one armful in the truck, and head back to get more.
Through the door, up the stairs, down the hallway, around the corner. You get back to your front door to find that someone came in while you were gone and has taken your 50″ flatscreen tv, and a few other prized possessions. You lean against the door, exhausted, worn out, sore, and now left feeling violated and completely defeated.
Slumping to the floor, you start crying, finally letting your emotions crash all around you, your walls of stubbornness and determination crashing down and melting into a pool of tears on the floor.
During the midst of your breakdown, a striking young man comes in and kneels beside you, asking you what he can do to help you-and you can tell that he genuinely is a good man and doesn’t intend you any harm. You are so frustrated by your life and everyone ignoring you for what seems like years now. You just start spilling everything to him.
For some reason, he is genuinely invested in your story. He listens to the last 15 years worth of your life, since your world came crashing down when your husband had died unexpectedly, leaving you with massive bills and no children to call your own. You’re all alone in this world and no one seems to notice.
But this striking young man has come to your rescue–if only just to vent. You soon get your bearings again and you think, I need to get this task finished before it gets dark. But the sun has set and right now it looks like you will only have time to grab a couple of things and head back to your truck.
“Thanks for listening,” you say, about to stand back up. “But I need to get finished. I’m sorry I’ve taken so much of your time.”
“It’s okay,” he offers, reaching out and placing his hand on your arm gently. “Why don’t you rest, and I’ll take the rest to the truck. You can’t continue to try to go at this alone.”
You sense he has no ill will whatsoever-which is so hard to come by these days-especially in the big city. And that touch–it was electrifying. It sent shockwaves of love radiating through your body.
What’s up with this guy, you think to yourself. Where did he come from?
Before you can come out of your stupor, he has cleared out everything from your old place-leaving it spotless. You look around and are awestruck at how new your old apartment looks. I must have passed out. What happened? What time is it? Oh no, I’m late to get my deposit back–I was supposed to have the key turned in at dark!
You jump up and look outside, and to your surprise there is still light outside.
The young man comes back in just then and asks, “where are you going to go when you leave this place?”
A tear rolls down your cheek as you think about the answer to that question. “I don’t know. I have no where to go,” you say, feeling incredibly burdened and saddened, knowing that you have no family upon which to call. No one that can or would take you in. No one wants me, with all the problems I have.
You glance over at the sink where once there were a multitude of liquor bottles, all empty. But now the counter is sparkling clean and there are no signs of liquor bottles anywhere.
You turn your gaze to the corner of the living room, where the couch and coffee table once sat. You expect to see the random assortment of needles and other necessary items that you’ve used for longer than you care to remember, trying to escape the pain of life. But there is nothing there. The room is bright with light and looks brand new-like it first looked 20 years ago.
“I’ve got a surprise for you,” the man says. “Follow me.”
He leads you back out to the truck, and as you approach it, the back still open, you notice that there is nothing there. It’s gone! All your stuff you have worked so hard for, all your life. It’s gone.
You look at this man, incredulously, not believing that he would have taken your things! They would have meant nothing to him, all my stuff was old, tattered and worn out. Why would he have taken everything?!
But as you glance at him, you notice his face is beaming with the biggest grin you’ve ever seen. And you realize suddenly, though you don’t know why, the anger you felt has turned into an overwhelming flood of pure, raw, unadulterated love. Every inch of your heart is overwhelmed by this emotion that you have been so callous to for so many years.
He looks at you, and asks you to walk with him across the bridge to the other side of the river. It’s not that terribly far, and why not-you don’t have anywhere to go anyway. You have time. Though you wonder in the back of your mind what he is up to, and you start questioning where he came from, you push those thoughts aside because there is just something so overwhelmingly good about this man. You could spend the rest of your days by his side. You never knew such a man existed in all your life. Talk about the essence of love filling you to overflowing!
As you make it across the bridge, you are aware for the first time how nice this neighborhood truly is. You glance around, expecting to see people hanging out at the dumpster and selling drugs on the corner. But there is no dumpster, and you see small children playing jump rope and riding bikes, their parents gardening or playing basketball with neighbors.
Though you don’t see the sun, it’s bright as daylight. You find that odd, and wonder what happened while you were off wandering around in your own mind.
You turn to this man, and his face is just glowing. In fact, it’s more than just his face. His whole body just seems to radiate with a soft glow. He looks into your eyes, a penetrating but yet completely comforting and compassionate gaze. “Hold out your hand,” he says.
In his hand are the keys to your old apartment. He places them in your palm, closing your fingers around them.
“I know you don’t have anywhere to go. I’ve been watching you for quite some time now. I see you come and go to your waitressing job, I see how you always come home with the same groceries week after week. You never share your struggles with anyone. I see when you make deals with the guy that hangs around at the dumpster, for that last pick me up of the day. I see the bottles upon bottles of alcohol that you bring home, trying to drown out the pain that has riddled your heart full of holes all these years.” A tear slips out of his eye and rolls down his cheek. “You think you have everything together-or that one day you will. But the truth is, you keep spiraling and you can’t barely stand to even see the next day, yet the next week or month. But no one knows, because you haven’t let your heart be open toward anyone since your husband died.”
“But-you-know,” you manage to say. “How could–how did–why have you–been watching me?” You stammer, confused as ever. Yet, the gentleness with which this man speaks is so comforting and you know he has only good intentions for you. Why is my life affecting him, you wonder when you see the pain in his heart as he tells you about your own life.
You gaze into his eyes, knowing that there is nothing from your past you want as badly as to be filled with this intense outpouring of love that you are receiving right now. If only this could last forever.
He takes your hand and leads you down the sidewalk, stopping in front of a house that you just adore. It’s the perfect house! It’s what you always dreamed of as a kid, and over the course of your downtrodden life, you’ve come to the conclusion that you’d never have what you ever dreamed of.
You peer through the big open windows and see a house rich in such luxury that you couldn’t even begin to imagine who lived there. A huge TV is on in the background, casting a glow across the room. It’s gorgeous! This must be his home.
“I want you to be my beloved,” he says, taking out a different set of keys, shiny and golden, the light ricocheting off of them. “But,” he pauses, lifting up your hand in which you are firmly grasping your old keys. You didn’t even realize how tightly you were holding onto them until now.
He unfolds your fingers from around the symbol of the only life you’ve ever known. The jagged edges of the keys have left red marks in the palm of your hand from holding them so tightly. “You have to be willing to let everything from your old life go.”
You stare at him in utter amazement, thinking of your old apartment full of tattered and worn out junk that you have accumulated over all these years. The heavy burdensome memories that would flood your heart every time you went back to the place you called home. Day after day of wishing there was something better, something to live for.
“I’ve filled this house with everything you had, but as I placed your things inside, everything became brand new again. And what you didn’t need, I tossed before I ever got here. That’s why you saw the truck was empty. It’s all in here.” He paused for a moment. “Now, this is my gift to you, should you choose to accept it. Or, I can put it back, just like it was, and you can continue the life you’ve always known.”
Speechless, you just wait for him to continue. “But, if you will let me take everything from your past, all your burdens and pain and self-sufficiency” he continues, “and the biggest request of all–your heart, this mansion is yours. I will make you mine and I will be yours. Forever.”
Tears stream down your face as you continue listening. “Let me carry your burdens, let me give you a life that is filled with love and completion. Let me be your beloved, and allow me to do all the heavy lifting and allow me to take the worries from your shoulders. You’ll never have to go down those roads of alcoholism or drug use ever again, as long as you let me be your guide. There will be no reason to spend your days trying to drown out life. All you have to do is hand me the keys to your old life, and let me bless you with a life you’ve only ever dreamed about- a life filled with riches that you can’t see. Riches that are stored up in my heart. Allow me to shower you with love for the rest of your days.”
So, imagine, if that were you, what would you do?
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28