I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13b
Baggage…it is a fact of travel and a fact of life. Our team of four checked in at the airport and gladly gave our baggage to the agent at the desk. One by one, our bags, as varied as the people who packed them, were weighed, and given up. And honestly, we were glad to do so. With our baggage handed over, our journey, our travel experience was a lot easier. When you give your luggage up, you always wonder if you will see it again. These days, the airline (at least the one we flew) sent us a text letting us know everything was safely onboard the plane. Nice.
Well, we landed in Atlanta and waited just a while and soon it was time to board the plane for our final leg of our journey…the one that would take us all the way to England. Sure enough, a message let us know our bags were onboard and would make the journey with us. That is always a good feeling. A little over seven hours later, it was time to land and sure enough our bags were there, and we took an Uber to the hotel. Well, the next leg of our journey was by train, so we had to walk a little and take the tube (the British word for the subway—not the sandwich shop) to the train station. As we left our hotel, we had our first personal experience with our luggage.
You see, this time there was no one to take our luggage—except us. Some of us had smaller bags, some had baggage so large we nick named it “the beast.” There was a variety of smaller backpacks and whether all of them had wheels or not, they were a necessary hassle. If it wasn’t for the fact that it is a common sight in London…I’m sure we would have looked quite comical. But we pushed and pulled, lifted, and dragged, squeezed through tight tube gates and balanced all of this on the narrow steps of several escalators. Oh yes…it was fun.
Well, the good news is, we made it. We made it all the way to our destination and when the time came, we made it all the way back home…well almost. Turns out the beast got left by the airline in London, but it did arrive several days later. Because I am a person who likes to prepare, I watched several travel videos to learn about England and also how to travel. The guy in the video made one point very clear. When you pack, remember that everything you decid to take with you, you will have to push, pull, drag, and carry along the way. And you know what…he was exactly right. I was very glad that my bag was one of smaller and lighter ones (32 pounds, thank-you) and my backpack was too. I was glad that at the last minute I did indeed determine I didn’t need the kitchen sink after all!
Well, we all know that baggage is part of the travel deal but baggage is also part of this journey called life. Along the way, we pick up things, some our fault and some no fault of our own at all, and we find ourselves dragging it through life. A difficult childhood, a broken heart, a bad financial decision, or romance decision and on and on it goes. Baggage…we all have our fair share. But here is the good news. It turns out that even if we can’t totally ditch all this unwanted baggage, we can at least lighten the load. And often, it begins with two small words—letting go.
You see, we can’t undo what others have done to us and short of some sort of a miracle we can’t forget either but there is something we can do. We can choose to refuse to allow the baggage to weigh us down. We can determine to what extent we give the person or the event space in our lives today. We can let it go…we can largely leave it behind. It will probably involve some forgiveness—whether it be someone else—or yourself. I really love the place in the Bible where Paul, who had tons of baggage, some he made and some others gave him, simply says he chose to forget.
Just for the record he wasn’t talking about actually forgetting but rather choosing not to allow the baggage of the past to impact his today. That was something he could do and something we can do. And when we do…we are going to find out that life is a lot easier when we are not weighted down with yesterday’s baggage. So, what do you say? Why not let today be the day we drop the bags of the past and sprint toward what lies before? On our journey, we would sometimes help another person with their bags, and I am glad I can tell you that God is just waiting to help us with our baggage too. Don’t you worry. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne