Baggage

I love to fly.

I took my first plane ride when I was 18 years old, and I’ve loved it ever since.

When I am on that 747, high above the earth and clouds, it can feel pretty surreal, because you know that you are in a place that you’re not really supposed to be.  You’re in a place where you know you can’t stay.

But you know who I really love?  It’s the guy at the baggage check.  Cause when you’re traveling, as we all are prone to do, we carry along our baggage with us.  You know, all those personal items that make us who we are, and the things that we think we can’t live, or travel, without.

See, from the very beginning of the journey, I’ve struggled with all that baggage, ever since I started packing it.  Sitting on top of the suitcase, cramming it all in until it feels like the zipper is going to pop… hauling it out to the car, loading it all up, just to  unload it all again at the airport.

Then pulling it through the terminal and listening to the squeaky wheel on the right side, and the half-broken, clopping, chipped wheel on the left side of the duct-taped old green suitcase with the pink neon name badge zip-tied to the ragged handle, all the while enduring the petulant stares of those fortunate enough to have enclosed all their baggage in a sturdy, state-of-the-art iron-clad matching set of Samsonite.

Some people’s baggage isn’t very visible, and even when it is, they can make it look pretty good.

But like me, my baggage has lots of… personality.  And most of it is pretty visible.  It really stands out, sticks out in the crowd.  You don’t have to look very hard to notice all the baggage that I carry around.

What a relief it is to turn all that over to the man at the baggage claim!  For just awhile, I get to kiss all that burden Goodbye!  Farewell!  Bon voyage!  and just enjoy the miles-high, top-of-the-world experience, away from it all, looking down on the world from a God’s-eye view.

Sure, I know it’s traveling with me.  It’s right there below me the whole time, in the belly of the plane.  But for me, it’s temporarily out of sight, and that means, just for awhile, I don’t have to carry it any more.  It is in someone else’s care.

Ironically, even our “carry-on” baggage, the close, personal, can’t-live-without things that we carry close to our chest and are never very far from us, gets stored away, for an easy, but unfortunate, retrieval.  How telling it is that the baggage that we carry that is the most personal to us… That is the first item we pick up when we come back down to earth from the ether above.

My poor old burdensome baggage is never seen while I am flying high, and going somewhere… traveling.  Moving forward at extreme altitudes.

No, it seems my baggage only hinders me when I reach a destination, and once again hit reality at the winding, accordion carousel of the baggage claim.  At that point, I once again reclaim the familiar old bag, and it again accompanies me on my way.

No longer am I zipping along at 30,000 feet, traveling at approximately 550 miles per hour.  No, I now assume a more human pace, ambling along with the other souls around me, each of us carrying and shuffling about with our own weights, and each struggling with them, visibly or not.

But part of what makes the journey the journey is the fact that my baggage that I carry makes me who I am.  And by lugging around and accumulating a whole lot of junk through years, I have learned a few things in my travels.

I have learned to pack lighter.

Luke 12:33-34 says “… provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (emphasis mine)

I am so thankful for that place of occasional solitude, and communion with the heavens.    I am grateful for the heights, though temporary they may be.  Real Sabbatical peace comes around all too rarely for me, and I long for the days that I can check in, and check my baggage.

This bag of mine I carry only gets old if I don’t, from time to time, visit that place to temporarily lay it down, and look to the blue above with anticipation.

Sure, I know I’ll have to pick it up again, because all my journeys thus far into the heavens have been round trip.

But one day, I’m flying one way.  Because that’s where my heart is.

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