Have you heard of the song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” by the Hollies?
The story about this song stems from the famous Boy’s Town Orphanage founded by Father Flannagan in the early 1900s. A young 8 year old boy afflicted with polio was dropped off at the orphanage by his mother. He had a difficult time climbing up and down the stairs and hills because of his heavy leg braces. However, the older boys at the Home took it upon themselves to carry him on their backs as needed. One day, as Father Flannagan passed this duo on the stairs, he asked the older boy, “Is carrying him hard?” The older boy responded, “He ain’t heavy Father, . . . He’s my brother.” Thus the motto for Boy’s Town was born.
I have been fortunate to be the youngest of five siblings. I remember watching my brother, the oldest, run around the American University of Beirut (AUB) track. I had insisted on following him to practice after school. To my delight, once he had finished his laps, he lifted me onto his shoulders and ran yet another lap! From my vantage point, I could see the blue Mediterranean crashing its waves onto the rocks of the AUB swimming hole. My lungs filled with the heady scent of frangipani and bougainvillea climbing the perimeter track fencing. And I exhaled pure joyous giggles.
But my oldest sister is the one who has “carried” me through most of my childhood bumps and bruises. I trust her heart to which I habitually gravitate. She still carries me on her metaphorical back. I’m not “heavy” to her.
At many junctures in our lives, we have needed to be carried. And reversely, we also have carried someone else. Maybe today you need someone to carry you. Reach out. Be vulnerable. We all stumble. You’re not too heavy.
Just now, who do you need to carry, or do you need to be carried?
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.