The Fettered

Trudging, weighed down, through deep, clinging mire.
Aching legs, sore feet.
Shoulders bent with the heavy load.
Bondage, to a lifestyle thought wanted,
Thought beautiful,
Turned ugly.

Stopped, by one without a load.
You don’t need to carry this. Drop it.

Stunned. Drop it?
Removing the rocks from the bag.
Thrilled with less weight.
Able to move again.

But still carrying the bag
which held the millstones.

It is security.

Walking, faster, toward a new way.
Learning there is truth.
And that the heavy load was not it.
Cautiously, yet happily, skipping now.
With a posse of partners,
all now finding the true truth.

Aiding each other in the beautiful freedom.
Following the One Who Is Truth.
Together. All of us.
This is a much better way.

But still carrying the bags.

Because they are security.

Then, a journeying partner, tired of all of it,
the journey
the journeyers
the load
the freedom
the Journey Leader,
He Who Is The Destination.

This partner crumbles.
In his crumbling,
he pulls, pushes and beats the rest of us to the ground.
He doesn’t choose to think of the pain he causes.

But what of the bag? What of the security?

This wasn’t supposed to happen.
It was security.

Ripped away.
It was not more than a flimsy piece of fabric, some seams, a string or two.
It provided no real security.
It simply appeared to be so.

Pain, again, now worse.
From injury instead of a heavy load.

Aching, sore, wounded.
Glancing around.
There are others, bleeding, wounded.
We crawl to each other on scraped hands and cut knees.

Holding each other, we weep.
For the pain, for the wounding partner,
For the loss of familiar,
for the loss of the bag.

We help each other to stand,
heartache mixed with anger.

How did this happen? What of the security?

We walk slowly, eyes darting,
trusting none but each other,

The Wounded Ones.

We talk about the bag, and the hurt it caused,
upon discovering it was not security.
We fight for survival.
Some make it. Some do not.

The bleeding stops, but the bruises take longer to heal.
The pain is residual.
Time passes.
We walk, watching every step, evaluating.

We see those who are whole, unbloodied, and we scowl.
They must be still carrying the bag.
They believe it is security.
They do not know how it all turns out.
We shake our heads bitterly.

The pain, a common vine, wraps around us,
our hearts,
our legs,
our feet,
our hands,
our heads,

and finally

our necks.

Suffocating us.

Another journeyer comes beside.
Scars cover the hands, the feet, the legs,
the neck.

You don’t need to struggle to breathe.

Leave the vine.


Because it still hurts.

And the pain, the vine

is security.

A gentle, knowing smile,
given to the scar covered journeyer
by the One Who Understands
and Is Truth.

The pain is real

but it heals.

Leave the vine.

Some see the Journey Leader behind this smile
and untangle their limbs
from the vine

Walking Free.

Others shake their heads, vehemently, fire in their eyes.

And they stay fettered

by the vine,

by the pain,

because it is security.

originally published at Heart & Home


  1. I remember this on your site. Amazing. I love it. I’m not sure if you meant it regarding legalism, but that’s how I took it and I can relate. It’s encouraging to me to know others are in that season of letting go, too.

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