That tune has been running through my head today; not a surprise, it's the last day of 2013, and I'd like to start 2014 with a clean slate. I'd like to lay down the burdens of the old year, and wake up without them. I've not always been able to do that, though; some of the burdens I'm carrying have been with me for several years. I really want to lay them down; I've wanted to lay them down for a long time, but every time I set them down, I run back and pick them up again."I'm gonna lay down my burdens, down by the riverside; down by the riverside, down by the riverside."
They are burdens of expectations.
Not mine entirely; these are expectations that someone else had of me; expectations that I either could not, or would not, fulfill; and I want the other person to take them back. I want them to to tell me that it's okay, that they understand that I could not do what they wanted me to do; I want them to tell me that they no longer need me to do those things, that they have forgiven me for not being what they wanted me to be.
And so, the circle revolves again. They are upset with me for not being who they wanted me to be, and I am upset with them for not being who I want them to be. Round and round we go; each needing the other to be what they are not in order to be okay with each other, in order to lay down our burdens of expectations. Each wanting more than the other can, or will, give. Each carrying burdens of hurt feelings, lost hopes, and uneasiness.
And then the second verse of the song kicks in:
"I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside."…and I realize that it's not enough to lay down my burdens. I must lay down my defenses, too.