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July 14, 2008

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Randall

Reading this article has been such a blessing to me. I have struggled with feeling of anxiety and fear for most of my life. If I was in a store when I was younger and someone came down the same isle as me I would have to go to another isle. The most bizarre thing has happened since I've turned 30. I've started having what I thought to be auditory hallucinations. I've been to several different doctors including a psychiatrist and they all seem to say that I am healthy. What I've discovered over the last two years is that many of the things that I hear are things that haven't happened yet, but usually happen in several days and sometimes weeks later.

I've also been in a room with several other people and many times I get all these different thoughts that run through my head that I would never think of. They can be the most off the wall comments and things to where I started believing that they are coming from other people and not me. I work in a prep room at a local community college and the room is kind of off in the back to where hardly anyone ever comes by. I often wondered why I felt some comfortable in the prep room, but I'm beginning to believe that it's because I can feel other people's emotions and thoughts.

The hearing voices part made me think I was developing schizophrenia, but then those things that I heard started happening and it felt like I was in a constant state of continual deja vu everyday. I am very thankful for all of the people who have posted here about their experiences. I'm currently praying to the Lord that he would connect me with people who can guide me or train me in whatever this is. I haven't seemed to meet anyone in person who has been able to identify with what I've been going through, so thanks again for those who have posted and for the original author's blog. May the Lord bless each of you and keep you safe from the enemy.

eric h janzen

@Concerned Burden Bearing Parent,

You have all my empathy. I have a daughter who is a sensitive feeler like I am. At first, I felt bad for her, but then I realized I had something my parents didn't have for me: understanding and experience. I won't dare call myself an expert on raising sensitive/feeler children, but I will offer you what I've discovered so far. First is giving understanding. I've been able to make it normal for my daughter. She understands that there are going to be times when she picks up on other people's emotions and spiritual stuff, including her family's. Honestly, I think understanding that you can sense what others are feeling is more than half the battle for burden bearing children because they learn to begin discerning between their own feelings and what isn't their own a lot sooner than those of us who knew nothing. As parents, we can help them navigate that sea of feelings with simple questions like 'Are you feeling upset after being around all those people?' If they are, help them remember that they may have picked up some burdens along the way. I keep an eye on my daughter and use my own burden bearing gift as I sense whether she is overloaded by other people's stuff or not...and I talk to her about it. I make jokes about it with her...'Oh man, that was heavy!' and she can smile in relief knowing she wasn't the only one feeling something.
Fear, anger, sadness that seem out of place to you are good signs that your burden bearing child has picked up burdens from others that they need to learn to release to Jesus. It is the same for them as it is for us: Dear Jesus, please take into your hands the things on my heart that aren't mine to carry...amen. Imagine if you and I had made that kind of prayer a habit from a young age? I think my entire life may have looked very different.
As for your own burden bearing health and what you bring home...I can only encourage you to continue making your own habit of daily releasing to Jesus the burdens/spiritual baggage you've picked up throughout a day or work week. The more peaceful we can make our homes for our burden bearing/spiritually sensitive children the better, for a home where Jesus is known should be a refuge for them. I know from my experience with my daughter, navigating trying to teach her about being sensitive has caused me to grow in my own gifting and become wiser in it...not to say I don't have more to learn and more wisdom to gain.
I hope some of that helps, but I can definitely say, that any spiritually sensitive child with a parent who understands something about it is already ahead of many of us who didn't have that growing up.
Please ask more questions...this is a great topic.

cheers,
eric h janzen

Concerned burden bearing parent

So I would love some insight. I realized I am a burden bearer too. I am a slow learner when it comes to giving the burden to God, and how to keep myself healthy. The thing that troubles me the most is how do I not bring crap home to my family who also seem to be highly sensitive. (wife and four kids). My greater dilemma is that we believe our youngest daughter may be a sensitive feeler. If it seems burden bearers realized they had this calling from birth but didn't realize it till later on, then I am finding a lack of info out there as far as how to keep a child healthy spiritually when they don't even necessarily understand. As a parent I feel she is under our wing of authority and protection and yet it seems she still picks up from our feelings, worst when we have a bad week ourselves. Fear seems to constantly hit her, and I wonder if it is our atmosphere, but believe that we have authority over all that. Is any of this making sense? It's refreshing to see others speak out and share their experience, makes me feel less crazy. And yet I worry about raising our kids in a healthy spiritual lifestyle.

eric h janzen

@Sally, I understand what you are saying about feeling guilty. It seems to be a part of burden bearing, which makes sense. We are sensing/feeling significant burdens in other people and because we are walking in deep empathy our natural (and spiritual) response is one of love...we want to help. Things we see/hear/feel go into us deeply and have a deep impact on our hearts. This is part of the gift...and part of the challenge. I once read an article in the paper about a boy who had suffered some terrible abuse. I was at a coffee shop and I started to cry. Please understand that I am a tall man with a significant beard and my hair is somewhat long. I looked pretty strange to the people sitting around me, but I couldn't turn it off. The story broke my heart. I carried the burden for that little boy around with me for at least a week. Finally, the Lord told me I needed to release it to him. I couldn't carry it any further than to his arms. He then taught me something: I could keep the burden, feeling the pain of it...or I could give it to him, the one who could do what I couldn't. He could take my burden bearing as intercession and go in the Spirit and minister to that little boy. The point is, that we feel guilty because we feel like we aren't doing enough, or should be trying to do something. Yet, in God's eyes, the sharing of the burden with him is action...it is a spiritual action of intercession, prayer, worship, ministry. I don't think we are to spend too much time feeling guilty that we can't change the world...after all we actually can't...but we serve the One who has changed the world and all of reality: Jesus. When guilt comes to rest on me in this way, I just have to pray: thank you Jesus that you are the savior and not me...please receive this burden and have mercy.

cheers,
ehj

eric h janzen

@Anonymous,the toughest years of being a burden bearer are probably the teen age ones. So much is going on in you during those years...adding burden bearing into the mix makes it even tougher. As one who survived that stormy time (and it wasn't easy...you have all my empathy!) I want to encourage you to hold on, you can make it and you are going to be okay. Remember to tell Jesus about everything you are feeling...don't hold back with him. Not only does he want to hear and share in all those swirling thoughts and emotions, he wants to help you carry them and lift from you the stuff you don't need to carry at all. I've said it many times, but it has to be said again and again to us burden bearers: We carry a burden for a time...but we always have to release them into Jesus' hands. That is the point of the gift...carry and give away to the Great Burden Bearer.
cheers,
ehj

Sally

Wow - this article was so insightful and just what I needed. Have felt so isolated throughout my life with this strange ability to see into others and to literally feel/sense their pain. I don't personally know anyone else who can relate. For example, in reading a book about orphans, I carry the pain with me for days and months, feeling responsible and that I should be helping more, yet become overwhelmed with the impossibility of being able to "change the world." I am in the social work field and have many opportunities to use this gift of empathy and burden-bearing. Lately I've felt that I'm suffering from compassion fatigue or burn-out. Often feel like I don't have much left to give. Need alone time with God to re-charge, yet I still feel the burdens and pain of others while in alone time. And also feel guilty when not using my time to help others. Anyone else struggle with guilt over not being able to do enough? Just being real here. I know God can help me (He is the only one who really can). But I'm thankful to read this and communicate with others who can relate!

ANONYMOUS

oh wow this article and all these comments have really saved my life. Im a teenager who has suffered serverly with depression and anxiety, that has come from the feelings of being so overwhelmed not being able to go out to church because i was afraid of large groups as i am a christian that scared me a lot and made me believe there was something wrong with me. i never sleep i just lay up thinking about people and why i feel the way i feel and not knowing was the worst part, but reading this after i was told i was a burden bearer makes me very relived to know that i a not allow and i no longer have to be afraid that god hasn't forsaken me he is with me and i have this gift because of him so i will embrace it and it will bring me closer to god.

eric h janzen

I hear what you are saying, Miranda...and every burden bearer out there can empathize with you, I'm sure! Here is what I've continued to learn: Remain in Jesus and remain in his love. This means in practical terms, making the burden bearing about focusing on Jesus instead of the overwhelming feelings that can come with the gift. In fact, the gift part of burden bearing is in the process of having to turn to Jesus with what we end up carrying...sharing it with him and releasing the burdens into his hands. We are drawn into his Presence as we seek to unload what we have picked up from the people around us...so in a sneaky, round about way we get to further and deepen our relationship with Jesus because we have to! Otherwise we end up overwhelmed and over burdened. I would encourage you to let God know exactly how you are feeling and then ask him to lift the burdens off of your spirit and ask for a filling of his peace and his lightness. His intention is not that you be stuck and isolated, but rather that you would share in his joy as he is able to carry what we can't. I don't point out to people that I am a burden bearer very often...I operate behind the scenes, carrying what I pick up for a short time before releasing it to Jesus. I think the bulk of burden bearing operates this way. I will pray for you today that Jesus will help you get unstuck and renew your spirit with some of his fresh water.

cheers,
eric

Miranda

Oh dear. I am still fighting this - only recently came across burden bearing as a thing. Every time I think it's not me, I hear someone use words to describe burden bearing and they are the exact words I have used to try and explain things. The radar, walking into a room and knowing what's going on for people etc. I realise I used to push through and see below the surface judgement. Deeply in fact. Only now I know I have stopped and I have become cynical and judgemental - fed up and exhausted with people and I defend myself with keeping to myself. And I'm stuck there. Hard to accept this as a gift, I don't want to feel so much, or have more people lean on me just because I can see and help with what is going on for them.

Brad Jersak

Daisy,

Thanks for this comment. Re: further reading, see Carol Brown re: The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive: Understanding Your Gift of Spiritual Sensitivity.

Daisy

Thank you so much for this amazing eye opener what a great relief!!!
I thought something was really wrong with me and I am not a strong Christian because I feel so burdened with every one's issue, even at the expense of mine. I just hated to see people suffer, cheated or helpless. Your description is simply me; Just today someone said I am a burden carrier/ bearer and I kept quiet because it was like an 'eureka' moment, I had to Google what 'burden bearer' means for deeper understanding, and ALAS! I found your article is just meant for me. Thank you ever so much!!!
1)Now how can I get more developed in this and be a vessel o honour ?.
2)any recommended books, dvd or messages on this topic. 'BURDEN BEARER.'

Janice

I thank you for writing this. I sit here with tears because this is exactly what has been happening to me for years. I am so blessed because the Holy Spirit led me to this web site. If there is any information on burden bearing out there that would help me I would be ever so grateful.

Kathy S

Thank you Eric. I found out I was a burden bearer just one month ago and I'm still learning how it's a gift. At first I was asking God what His return policy is on gifts and then I got mad at Him because I'm 51 yrs old now and I've had this gift my entire life and if you don't know what it is and you're just feeling all this stuff it stinks. I was on antidepressants for years. so now I'm learning about the gift and your article has helped and so has everyone's comments nice to know we're not the only ones. I'm not weird and a blacksheep. It's a gift. I'm still learning but I will take a look at the books mentioned here. My first teaching on this came from http://www.elijahhouse.org/ where my counselor got her training. Thank you again.

Eric H Janzen

@Lioness Vivian,

What a blessing for me to log in and read your comment. Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully, when others read your comment they will be encouraged as well. I was struck once more how the gift of burden bearing can be a difficult one and too often leaves burden bearers feeling isolated and alone. We need each other it seems...if for no other reason than to remind one another that it is a gift, and not a curse...and also that we aren't crazy hahaha.
May Jesus continue to show you how to work through the burdens you carry so that both you and those you bear burdens for experience the loving ministry of his presence and grace.
cheers,
ehj

Lioness Vivian

Dear Eric,
Thank you very much for putting it out there. After being challenged this week to keep off of (fast) social media for awhile until I learned how to have self control and not be emotionally lead and then being told today by my spiritual dad/pastor that I need to learn to keep all that I see and feel in and take it to Jesus, I immediately felt alone, unequipped, not capable to have self control like everyone else seem to have at my church. I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of the gift of discernment and burden bearer. It didn't delight me at first bc more now then ever I felt like it was a curse and not a gift. And if it was a gift then what was I doing different to think different, bc I didn't have much to go on but to release it to Jesus-that its not my own-and its not for me to carry. But I must say, that wasn't enough. I felt alone on this bc I didn't.know any steps to take but to cry out to Jesus & most of the time I felt it was all me anyways, and didn't connect it with what I seen either.

Reading this, I immediately remembered a childhood memory of a girl I use to defend from bullies in middle school. I did all you said to do and felt the difference but there was still something still bugging me. So I went deeper with Jesus. I was shown the girl with the same memory I held on to and as I got closer to her I started to see her clearly and instead of holding on to her hurt I hugged her. Immediately I started to weep deeply and I started to speak everything that God was giving me, into her now.

Its amazing to believe this is God's perfect timing. I truely believe he used me tonight to minister to her today wherever she's at, bc of something that happened in the past. It seems to me after I did everything you said, there was more I wanted to do and it was a hug. I wasn't close to her like that to give her a hug, I only stood up for her. but that's what I seen myself doing, and I'm believing it's also God's embrace for her too. So if it wasn't for my walk with Christ now, that hug would of lefted me still not feeling whole. Bc of my walk (with the help.of yours Eric and others that comments I read) I was able to spiritually hug her and speak life into her no matter where she's at! Now that's something to celebrate!! Praise God!! This has definitely been a night of breakthrough! ♪Freedom♪

Once again, thank you Eric for being obedient in "putting it out there" :) and for everyone's comments, for they too are so so helpful. Happy dance!!

Eric H Janzen

@ Clare Ashton

Firstly, I am very sorry to hear about the troubles your family has been facing. It sounds very tough and I pray Jesus will constantly be with you in the midst of it all.

I have been pondering your question for a few hours now and asked Holy Spirit what a good response would be. The thought that came to me for you is this: Sit before the cross and allow Jesus to help you lay each of your burdens down there.
For your physical pains/burdens, I think you should pray through each one. Something like this: "Lord, I release to you the burden causing the pain in my neck and pray that you would carry that burden now. Minister to it and bring healing to it." I'm sure you will have your own words, but that might help you get started. I really felt like you should pray through each one individually and not in a general catch-all way. Also, it would be great if you could call on some friends or church folks to simply pray with you. Many of us burden bearers tend to forget we have a community of believers who can help us out (I am very guilty of that one).
I suspect that once the burdens you are carrying for your family begin to lift into Jesus' hands it will allow your own grief to surface more, so maybe be prepared for that.
I hope this helps in some way and I will be praying for you.

cheers,
eric h janzen.

Clare Ashton

One question I would like to ask, I am a burden bearer and I also have to deal with a very painful period in my life. Put it briefly my husband nearly died twice, colitis and a stroke, mum was nearly killed whilst walking the dog, dad died, and my husband lost his job. He's since had catarcts and varicose veins removed and suffers badly from gout.

Given the burden bearing gift I am physically feeling the effects of such pain for my family. Other than tears, which are helping, is there any other way to relieve this burden? Symptoms include spams in my back, shoulders and neck as well as bad constipation.

The doctor tells me its stress but I suspect it's partially represeed grief and the burden bearer in me is crying in pain

Eric H Janzen

@ grayc knight

Glad you found something to connect with in the article. The best book I know of currently on burden bearing and being a sensor/feeler, as it also sometimes called, is by Murray Dueck and it is titled 'Keepers of the Presence'. Murray leads a prophetic training school called Samuel's Mantle. Pretty sure his book would be available on their web site, which is samuelsmantle.com. I read the book and kept saying things like 'Yes, that's it!' and 'Yep, I get that.' I also know Murray and know that he has really walked through the burden bearing trek in his own life. Check it out if you want. If you discover any other good books please let me know.

cheers,
eric h janzen

grayc knight

WOW I identify with this I would like to learn more.

Eric H Janzen

Dear Sean,
Happy face back at you! What a blessing to read your comment. It was for fellow believers like you that I wrote the article. Spiritually sensitive people often have the same experience as you and I want affirm for you that are not alone and that it is indeed a gift. May Jesus guide you to some fellow believers who 'get' it and can offer you some community. We are out there...

I wrote this article some time ago now and I am amazed at how many people it has touched since that time.

Humbled,
eric h janzen

Sean

I'm not crazy! Christians really do get it!
Hi my name is Sean I'm 26 and have grown up in the church as a missionary's kid.
I grew away from G-d in my teen years and only just came back to him truly within the last few months with many periods of trying to be luke warm since i was about hmm 13-14. I can say that a huge part of my whole problem with G-d had been not dealing with being a burden bearer as G-d would have me do because i never knew that there was any one out there who believed as i do and had experienced this. Tonight is the first time in my whole life where i have ever read anything written by any one person from a christian perspective that truly gets it. one of the major reasons i've had issues with christian and indeed organized western religion before this moment was indeed the same major reason that i was atracted to other believe systems and/or drowning my gift in substance abuse, that before tonight only my pagan friends got me. only those living in spiritual darkness could recognize any semblance of truth and tell me "Sean you're not crazy, this is a gift." but not tonight! tonight i know that there are believers who rejoice by my side and pray as i do. who suffer as i do and whose hearts r broken as mine is. i am not alone. i am not the only one called and burdened with such alone. G-d has shone me that i have peers. Happy-Face!

Colleen Fox

Hi Eric,
I have only just found out and accept that I am a Bureden Bearer, people who know me have said I am psycic and even a real psycic told me a few years ago that I had a gift. I have prophetic dreams and have always been able to communicate on a deep level with people. I have had a big life and I work as a security guard dealing with sometimes violent folk. I feel I have been protected from harm on occasions but have always suffered from some of your described experiences also. Today I found a gold cross I have carried around for years probably from one of my children. I put it on today because now I feel I can and I am more than worthy, walking through the shopping centre I felt so proud I wanted everyone to notice this cross I feel like a new woman and my life has only just begun. Thankyou and I would love to tell you my story one day.
Colleen

Eric H Janzen

Sometimes when we give up a burden and it remains with us it means that God is asking us to carry it for a little while. When we carry another person's burden it eases the pain and pressure within their spirit and may make it easier for them to go through some healing. When this happens we need to pray a few times throughout the day to see if it is time to have that burden removed. The other possibility is that some burdens touch on similar pain in our own hearts. This is why burden bearers are better off being self aware and willing to deal with their own pain and issues. To successfully walk in this gifting you have to be willing to receive the healing of Jesus in your own life...otherwise, as most burden bearer's know, life can be very heavy and difficult.
Hope that sparks some more answers for you I_S.
cheers,
eric h janzen

I_S

Eric, thank you for writing this article...I only just found this website today but already the writings in here I can see are pretty...intense.

You say that burden-bearing is a gift...I never knew this. I am currently a first-year student at Trinity Western University, but that doesn't mean I am a super good christian or anything...

I do have a question though. What if you can't get rid of the burden? So many times my friends will come up to me and ask for help...And I LOVE helping people. I would take a bullet for the random stranger sitting across the room from me at a coffee shop, simply because I hate seeing people hurting. It kills me to see someone hurt.

You say we are to give it up to God. But what if we can't? what if we try to give it up but we still feel the burden when we are alone? And how do we know if it is our own hurt we are feeling or if it is the hurt of someone else that we haven't given up to God yet?

Thank you so much for writing this article... it cleared up quite a few things for me.

Philbe

It was so great to read your article - I too have the burden bearing gift and only discovered 8 years ago what it was and how to use it. Its so fascinating to find others who have gone through similar experiences. As a child I found life very hard going and my teenage years were so confusing as I rtried to sift through my own thoughts and fears and those of others. But recently as God has really done loads in me I have learnt how to use the gift God has given me and now there are time when I can choose to connect with it and times when I can turn it off - which has been a huge blessing to me. My heart is to bring God's love, freedom and healing to people's lives and I thank God that he has gifted me in this way.

So thank you for writing the article its great to hear ther are others out there moving in this gift!

Tairngir

I have also come accross a personality type theory which I found to be quite insightful into the way I process and deal with stimulus. It's called the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator. http://www.personalitypage.com/home.html is a good site that explains the different types.

Brad

Great book for you Mary: "The Highly Sensitive Person" which is from a more secular approach. It is sort of the original great book when this personality type was first discovered.

You might also check out chapter 6 in my book, "Can You Hear Me?" entitled "Meeting God to intercede" ... there are a few good tips in there that I learned from Murray Dueck and Eric McCooeye.

Mary

I have to say its pretty incredible to read this and gain some insight to myself. After having a rough weekend in a family reunion I remembered I had read this article a couple of months ago and came back to this, for I felt so overwhelmed by the critical and judging air around me. I have always had a hard time being around a large group of people and find myself to be very quiet in those settings normally. Would you recommend any other steps or books to gain more understanding with this?

Thank you so much.
Mary

Tairngir

You have no idea how amazingly timed me reading this article is. I have been in such a dark place recently and I was seriously considering going to the doctors with depression. I couldn't explain to anyone what I've been feeling cause it wasn't any one thing everything just felt really heavy.
I work as a carer for adults with mental disabilities and have found the job incredibly difficult recently not because the job itself was too hard it was because I felt emotionally overwhelmed every day.
I can't thank you enough Eric for sharing this. Your message has renewed my hope.

God bless
Ross

Amy

Oops, misread who posted what. I agree with Kaitlin's thanks, and relate to de's scenario!

Amy

I agree with Anonymous - as I was reading, I just thought, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

I first heard the basic burden bearer teaching in the last few years, and it was such a relief to me. This article goes even deeper, and especially significant for me was telling of your [Eric's] deep relief after releasing the past years of burden bearing. I hadn't ever thought to do that, yet have been dragging around this canyon-sized load of pain and anger, mistakenly thought to be all mine! Much of it is not, I believe Jesus told me. Spent some time with Him on that this evening.

I so relate to the scenario you describe, Kaitlin. What comes to mind is the Galatians verse on burden bearing, and how it fulfills the law of Christ. Is that law this one (?): "A new command I give you, that you love one another." As burden bearers, walking in this gift through the Holy Spirit, we're wired to love people this way! Such a relief, because I too agonize over my perceived lack of love, yet desire it greatly. This is such a natural way for me to love people.

Thank you. Blessing.

de

Thank you Eric,

Funny, I was in the store yesterday and as I waited in line I could hear two young women talking about every-day normal stuff, work, school etc…but I heard something else too. I heard “I’m fat, I hate this... etc"
I felt shame, rage, depression and fear.
A pressure started to build and I began to cry inside until I couldn’t hold my breath any longer (that usually works)and some tears surfaced.
I tried the; “Oh these allergies are really bugging me today” thing, (I think maybe it worked)

As I was leaving I suddenly felt angry… “I can’t even go into a store and buy cheese!”

The biggest challenge for me is to know in my knower, ‘do I love people? do I really have love in my heart to give? I say this because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to ‘survive’ people… on certain days, everything in me wants to run as fast as I can to the nearest beach and I pray “Please God…don’t let anyone talk to me” Pretty spiritual huh? What I’ve really been longing for, is to love people. But instead I’ve always felt I needed to hide in some way.
What you’ve written here makes so much sense and so thank you for writing it. I’m going to begin training @ Samuels Mantle in Sept and I’m looking forward to learning more.
Peace.

Kaitlin

Thank you so much for writing this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Eric H Janzen

Hey Anonymous,
Glad you enjoyed the article. As to your question about fear I can only give some possible answers. I didn't touch on it in the article, but often we are most sensitive to those burdens we carry personally. In your case it may mean that you yourself have a root of fear in your heart that is all your own, which needs care and healing. This root would make you sensitive to the fear in others and when you carry the fear burdens of others it will amplify your own fear making yours seem larger than it really is. I don't know if this is your case or not, but it might be something for you to check on just to be sure. What I certainly do know is that Christ's desire for you is to live free from fear and not to carry fear with you in any constant way. A burden of fear once released should not leave any residue with you. Let me know what happens.

After we release the burdens of others to Jesus and have prayed for them, prayed our cleansing prayer, and should be burden free there may be what feel like burdens still. This is a good opportunity to talk to Jesus about our own hearts and to welcome his ministry in our own lives.

cheers,
eric

anonymous

Thank you Eric, this is helpful.
A question though, i find that the signals i pick up are pain and fear, the Lord has helped me in dealing better with the pain signals, but i find i am constantly overwhelmed by fear. It doesn't matter how much excellent information i have about fear, or even that the Lord says not to fear, it is with me all of the time.
In these days it is easy to understand the prevalence of it - but my response seems like burden bearing gone wrong. I do attempt to leave these things in His care.
What are your thoughts?

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