With an overabundance of humility, I’d like to say that most days I’m the monk in this poem: reaching out to those around me, making their lives a little better, and spreading love where it’s needed most. I’d like to think I’m giving my best to this world and am embodying Mark 12:31 in loving my neighbor as I love myself.
But, as my pride comes crashing down, I have to admit that most days I’m the burro. I need someone to reach out to me and ask me how I’m doing. I need someone to look me in the eyes and see the honest answers to the tough questions. I need someone to help me with these heavy loads I’m carrying.
The unfortunate truth is that I tend to keep my ‘stuff’ to myself because I don’t want to lay it on someone else. I maintain my identity as a beast of burden because I see how much ‘stuff’ other people have in their own lives and I don’t want to add to their load. In my mind it’s a noble act, but it’s also destructive. I can only travel so far before exhaustion sets in and the weight becomes too much to bear. In my desire to be the best monk I can be, I turn into the burro over time.
Perhaps that’s why I cherish this poem so much: at any point in my life I can relate to one of the characters. I’ll go through periods of ‘monk-ness’ where I can be the one who loves and cares for others. And on the opposite side of the same coin, I can go through periods of ‘burro-ness’ where I need others to care for me, to love me, and to ease my burdens.
Some days we can bring the pear to the stables and make this life a little better, but some days we need the sweetness of love and freedom brought to us.
much love. sheth.