Fifteen months ago Dave and I started downsizing as we planned our move to the cabin. Truth be told, we still need to have a huge yard sale in Arnold this spring to continue the process. After having lived in that same house for thirty years, stuff apparently grew, especially in the basement. I faced the problem again today when I began to pack for a 10-day trip to Miami. Wanting only carry-on luggage, we packed, unpacked, and repacked, all in an effort to get everything into two small suitcases, my purse and the computer case. It seems to make sense to travel light in other areas of life too. What about the emotions that we can carry with us as excess baggage? People may hurt us, speak badly of us, injure us, but all without malice. We really aren’t always careful in dealings with other folks. Our clumnisiness or insensitivity can do so much harm. So in my packing, I need to stop swinging the words and actions around without thinking about those I may hit. But as well as hurting others, we’ve also been the recipients of others’ hurts. Have we taken inventory lately? And after the assessment, are we willing to jettison some debilitating emotions and travel light?
Scripture speaks, telling us to “Put away” and “Get rid of” a variety of baggage: pride, lust, anger, bitterness, rage, slander, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, impurity, witchcraft, and as Paul summarises in Ephesians 5, “along with every form of malice.” As I think back over my own life and the lives of those I’ve counseled, I think we’d all do well to think about getting rid of baggage and traveling light. When I carry the emotional baggage Scripture speaks of, I harm myslef and I bang into others around me. How long will someone’s comment to me or treatment toward me jade my life? I have found that allowing my mind to replay those hurtful incidents adds more baggage. I found that telling the Lord, rather than retelling the tale to other friends and family allowed God to pry my fingers off the pain. “Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me,” provided wise counsel. I even told one friend we could get together but a particular topic was off limits. Amazing things happened. We branched into topics related to our families, our own spiritual areas of growth and emerging interests. We laughed more when together and gained a lighter heart. Life’s too short to stop talking to friends and family members over something that neither of you can really remember clearly. And if the baggage comes from habits of jealousy or anger, that weight pins us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Packing for a simple trip made me think of things I’ve shuffled off and things that don’t need to contniue with me in this life journey any longer.