This burden is pushing me into the ground. I am wasting away beneath the weight of it. The race that I’ve been running has now become a walk, or maybe more of a crawl. The dirt and rocks grind into my face as a scrape my body along the ground, trying to reach my destination, but too tired to stand. “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” The voice seems so faint, as though it was just something I heard in my past, thousands of years ago. I’m exhausted, but I continue on. The level ground become a steep mountain. The sunny sky, clouding over, thundering. The threat of what is too come. The battle ahead of me. “I will fight your battles. I will victor over your enemy.” The still soft voice, only a whisper, hardly even making a sound compared to the screaming all around me. The rain pouring now, the wind pushing me left and right. The lightening crashing down, hitting trees all around me. Tired, I trudge on, I will not stop, for I know there is reward and rest at the top. But this pack, oh the weight if this burden I am carrying. It is making this journey so much more difficult. “Come to Me, and I will rid you of your burden.” The encouraging voice is still so soft, but it comes more often now. “Come to Me.” It promises rest, and a light pack. But how? How am I supposed to lay down my burdens. Every time I lay down this heavy pack I am carrying, my journey seems easier, and I am able to run, not crawl. But I still end up in the same place. Running, then walking, then crawling, then on my face, with the voices around my laughing and mocking. Will I ever reach the top? Will there ever be a time when the storm calms around me, when my enemies stop attacking, when the load is light for good, when I experience rest? How much longer must I wait? How much longer until I reach the top? I just want to see the view. “Come to Me.” I’m trying, I’m trying ever so much, but the voices around me are screaming that I will never make it, that I will fail like I have so many other times. Their screams are so loud that my head is pounding. The continue on saying I am nothing, I am worthless, I am a failure, that this mountain is just an illusion and I will make it to the top and find nothing. They are so convincing. They scream at me over and over again, and I try so hard to find the soft whisper through them, but it seems as if it’s gone. They keep telling me to just give into them and to climb back down the mountain, to turn around and face reality, so I do. I give in, I give up, I fail, yet again. But reality is no better, in fact, it seems worse. Not only are these voices in my head yelling at me, but everything I say and do is only confirming what they are telling me. My enemies have won the battle. And now they are storming the castle. They have found me and they are stabbing me over and over and over again. Until there is lo more un-stabbed flesh. I have lost. I have failed. And it is here, where I lay, with blood all around me, and my life quickly fading that I find healing. It is here, that I once again hear the voice, this time loud a clear, “Come to Me, my beloved, my daughter, my child, my bride. Come to me and find what it really means to live.” I try to stand, but my body fails me. Suddenly, A hand is placed on my back and large and warm guiding hand. It helps me to my feet and pushes me on my way. On my way back up the mountain. This time it is harder than before. I am weaker. But I know that the life, rest, and freedom promised at the end will be even more worth it than before. So I trudge up the mountain. The rain and the storms and the heavy pack come, but I continue. The voices screaming at me once again. But this time the whisper is right beside me, right in my ear. And there is a hand on my back pushing me along up the mountain. And I know that I am not disillusioned, I know that I will make it to the top. No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, and not matter how many times I backslide. I will make it. And the reward will be great.