The Chain

I once wore a chain.

It was wrapped around me like a vine. It was heavy, and it held me down. When I tried to swim, it kept me in the shallow places. When I tried to fly, it kept me closer to the ground.

I used to blame others for my imprisonment. I had a rough childhood, saw things no child should ever see, and bore the brunt of not being part of a world others wanted me to see. I hid the bruises, I masked the scars, and I pretended to be all they wanted me to be.

In my pain I blamed them. In my sorrow I cursed them. In my suffering I would rage against them.

Now, I thank them.

I once wore a chain.

I wore it, no one else put it on me. Others gave it to me. They showed me where to put it. I, however, made the choice to put it on.

Now, things are different.

If you try to give me a chain, I’ll watch your arms grow tired holding it. Maybe you’ll drop it. Maybe you’ll just walk away to offer it to someone else who likes the way it feels.

If you are wearing one, I may rattle the ends hanging loose. You may realize its weight and the energy you spend keeping it tightly wound about you. You may want to drop it, too or you may just love it too much to bear the lightness that comes in shedding it. Whichever, the choice is always yours, and there is much power there.

I once wore a chain. 

Now, I see the broken links scattered around like the broken promises I made from behind that iron curtain.  I once thought it made me stronger, but I now know the strength was found in discarding it. Once you no longer have something to blame for your stumbles, when you no longer have a chain to rattle to scare the truth away, you realize your true power, and your unbridled strength.

I bear the undeniable marks of a man once so burdened, and the rough calloused form of a man determined to swim, to fly, the scale the highest peaks. I am not the same man I used to be, nor will I be the same man I am. It is the way of a sprouting tree.

Yes, I once wore a chain. 

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3 thoughts on “The Chain”

  1. 13 years ago, shortly after the birth of my 5th child, i had a dream. I dreamt about a team of horses. Beautiful strong work horses, manes flying, hooves flashing. I revelled in their power and ability to achieve anything they desired. But as my dream unfolded, their harmesses grew in weight and size. They struggled to keep up their pace, but their run slowed to a trot, then a walk, then they were stumbling on their knees, and finally their burden was such that they could no longer even hold up their heads. The chains were so immense that these tremendous beasts could barely breathe. They were prostrate on the ground, trapped in chains against which their struggles were beyond futile. I wept as i watched their suffering, this travesty. Not until i read your poem this morning did I understand that I forged those chains which held my spirit in check. Link by link, i accepted one impossible task after another. I have begun to lay them down, these belief burdens, and I dream once more of flying.

  2. “You have nothing to lose but your chains.” A revolutionary cry, and true. None should go through life as dead and chain wrapped as poor Marley. The weakest link in a chain is the strongest. It can break the chain. (I forget who said that) Excellent post!

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