A recent trip found me people-watching at a major airline hub, which is something I really enjoy. The passing scenery of humanity is fascinating. What people wear (or not), their demeanor and interactions, the food they eat while juggling kids and suitcases – all of it is mesmerizing.

This time my focus was mainly on people’s luggage, perhaps because I was wrestling a relatively new hard-sided carry-on. There were the business people with their wheeled briefcases, the parents with strollers and carseats and little ones in tow, the divas with their stiletto heels and matching leather suitcases and tote bags that looked rich as cream, and the regular folk who seemed more like me with sensible shoes and suitcases, intent on getting from point A to B.

As always, most people seemed to effortlessly maneuver their baggage. They rolled along, usually with a sizeable second bag slung from one shoulder and often a phone or coffee cup in their hands. How do they do that?

I’m not a very strong person physically, and I admit I compare myself to other travelers. I traverse long airport corridors feeling like a klutzy wimp. By the time I get where I’m going, my back and neck ache and I often have a bruise or two on my arm or shin.

I wonder, though, if I might look as comfortable with my baggage as others appear to me. Maybe I, also, seem to pull my burdens with ease. As a recovery slogan explains, we tend to compare our insides to other people’s outsides, and we always come up lacking.

We never can be certain of the weight of another’s load, even those we know extremely well. We have no real idea what it takes for some people to get up and pull themselves through every day. Of the bumps on their legs or the welts in their hearts.

Help me, God, to allow you to carry more of my loads. To release the weight of my burdens to you. And infuse me with more compassion for myself and other burdened journeyers along the way.

Marnie C. Ferree