Some days I feel as though I'm carrying years on my back.

I never thought about it much before; you see, I believed it was my duty. I thought we all agreed to carry the extra package; I thought it wasn't nice to decline. So when they asked me if I'd take it, if I'd do a small, kind favor for all the souls before me, I agreed.

It's heavy, and it wears me down sometimes. When I stop to catch my breath, it's hard to get up again, and it's not easy to take new turns on the path, because I'm dragging this load with me all the time. But still, I haven't stopped traveling.

I never dared to look inside, to see what it is that I'm carrying. I figured, if the angels gave it to me, it must be important. There are days when I would like to simply drop it by the roadside, and run off. But I worry about the consequences, and whether or not they'll be able to forgive me.

What if no one else picks it up? What if the bag just sits there, in the sun, rotting away for eternity? What if nobody ever carries it through life, and it is lost to the winds forever?

Will they care? Does it even matter?

I think I've been a tad too obedient. I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I took a peek inside. After all, the angels never said not to; they simply handed it to me when we parted ways. It was like an unspoken agreement; a door-prize of sorts; a "please-take-this-with-you-when-you-go-down-there" farewell gift.

It is hot and rainy today. The air is moist, and so dense, I can barely see the road ahead. The load is pulling me down. It's holding me back, and so, today, I've decided to sort through the bag.

The string is so brittle, it crumbles, and falls apart before I've untied the knots. My hands are shaking, and I struggle to steady myself. They thought I'd never open it, didn't they. I feel like a rebel, but I desperately don't want to be one. It's as if I'm on show, and I imagine millions of souls, watching me, and wagging their fingers, as I dare to do the unimaginable.

I spread open the mesh fabric. There are so many things inside, too many to recount. Age-old messages and woven dreams, unfinished tasks and untold stories; all bits and pieces of lives lived before me.

I hear the echo of an ancient prayer; it is a woman during the Jewish slavery in Egypt. Strange, I have said this very prayer before, but never knew its author. In the distance, a Jew is dancing, gripping a blue velvet mantle that once covered a Torah scroll, close to his heart. What can I do with his sacrifice?

So this is what I've been carrying.

But wait, there's something else inside the sack. I sense a heaviness, a fear; a grief, so dense, that when I will it to leave, it barely rises, and sinks back down to the ground. I am afraid. I so badly want to leave this, here, on the side of the road. And yet, I know what needs to be done.

You see, they didn't ask me if I wanted to examine the contents of my sack. They didn't ask me if I wanted some, or all of it, because no soul ever refused. This load has passed through so many hands, so many lives. You accept it, graciously, and you leave. But if you're brave, if you take the time to pause, and look inside, you may find that it is time to face what you've been given.

I am ready to close the sack, and move on, when a strong wind comes. It changes course, and with its departure, I sense the heaviness escaping from my load. The angels must understand. I smile, and a million souls together with me.

Yes, I want the strength and courage of those before me; I want the fire and determination. I want their pride and their prayers; I want their sacrifice; I want their hopes, and I want to complete their unfinished dreams.

But the load should not be pulling me down, or holding me back. I should not need to bear the pain and endless struggle; the blood, the broken lives. If I am to carry their unanswered cries, it is not to hear them echo in the long, silent nights forever. If I am to carry all this, it is only to know how I will comfort them.

I will sweep away their sorrow with the journeys that I take; I will bring them back to life with the goodness I uncover. I will live for those who could not. And I will pray, silently, that I am the last to carry their tears, because it's time to wash the pain away.

I tie a knot in the fabric of my sack, and then double it. I'll never have to open it again, and I want to make sure nothing in here can fall out. I need these things. I need to keep them on my back, because they propel me forward; they let me fly; they lift me up, and carry me to a world of redemption.