Bearing the weight
Boy: Papa, it’s raining.
I’ve been sleeping better lately. I dream a lot but I’m a terrible sleeper. Your mother didn’t have this problem. I hope, in this regard, you take after her.
There are things that I hope you’ll take from me, and things I hope you’ll take from her.
The most important thing I want you to take from both us is the ability to bear the weight of the world.
If you ever read through this blog, I want you to tell you two things:
I always thought I could bear more pain – emotional and otherwise – than most. Then I met your mother.
She was, and remains, the bravest and strongest person I’ve ever known. I’ve never met anyone who bore as much as she did.
I hope never to meet another, because to watch it is soul-crushing.
The first time your mother and I spoke on the phone, she was unkind to me. But she immediately called me to apologize and ask how she could make it better.
I told her, “You get points in life for being brave.” I think I loved her at that moment. There is nothing more attractive than bravery.
You’ll meet a lot of people in this life that have all the trappings of bravery: They yell the loudest, act the craziest, threaten the most. They are many things, but they are not brave.
The truth is, we are made in our sleep and by our lonely. Bravery is quiet and happens when no one looks or notices.
And bravery requires you to bear things you don’t wanna: Disappointment, pain, ridicule, and loss.
We’ve lost so much, you and I.
There will be times when you can’t bear it any more and you’ll want to cry.
I want you to remember that rain happens when clouds can’t bear the weight they carry.
Likewise, tears happen when people can’t bear the weight they carry. So put it down and cry for a bit.
It’s ok to cry. Papa cries a lot when no one looks or notices. Papa carries a lotta weight, you see.
Anyway, once you’re done crying, you pick up the weight again. Because life is nothing if not bearing the weight of the world.
The world will teach you things like anger, greed, hatred, and cruelty. I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. I wish so many things were different.
But here – in the four walls of our small Manhattan apartment – I’ll try and teach you curiosity, patience, and kindness. With those things and bravery, you’ll be able to bear the world.
And always remember that you get points in life for being brave.
Me: Yes. The clouds can’t bear the weight anymore. But it’s ok. They will again and then it’ll be sunny again.
Him: Sunny again… I like the sun. (thinking) Papa doesn’t like the sun.
Me: (laughing) That’s not wrong.