Baggage: Part I
In Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, she names her heavy backpack Monster as she hikes across the Pacific Trail. We all know this name too well, and have felt the familiar weight of Monster as we’ve trekked across the rocky terrain of our own lives. The backpack is a metaphor for the baggage we carry, and the burdens we struggle to let go of. I have more than a few Monsters that I carry around, sometimes I exchange one bag for another, or depending on the day, I may try to load them all on my back like a camel, but I’m not a camel, so I crash.
The mornings are my best time, I wake up and feel lighter then I do all day. My husband Landon says, “this is the time of the day when you’re not wearing your backpack.” He is right, but slowly hour by hour if I’m not releasing worries as they come, they just accumulate. After loading up my questions about the future, my to-do lists, my cystic breakout, my unpaid credit card bill, my graduate student loans, and my spilt latte-I'm on edge, I'm tipping over. My baggage is falling out into the public square and everyone is looking at it, or so it seems. All my depression, angst, and doubts sprawled across the sidewalk like some shattered whiskey bottle. So-many-pieces. Some people pick them up and say, “you dropped this.” I smile and try to stuff it under my shirt, but then I look pregnant and that’s a whole another thing I can’t even get into right now.
So how do we begin to lay the backpacks down and let the Monster go? Let’s start with organization. When we are in middle of spring cleaning, we empty our dressers, clear out the kitchen cabinets, and pull the dusty forgotten treasures from beneath our bed. We began to pack up, stick on labels, and drop them at the nearest Goodwill. We create space where there was clutter for the first time in a long time. In the same way, we put our baggage into boxes, tape them up, and send them out to sea. When we make room for our future by clearing our past, we are no longer hoarding history, but surrendering to faith in what’s to come. [TWEET THIS]
Sometimes it feels more manageable to organize your baggage then releasing it completely. Instead we organize the Monster, load them up in the storage room until it’s so full it’s overflowing. Before we know it, boxed baggage is stacked against the wall, under the dinner table, and toppling from the bedroom closet. We must learn the practice of letting go, lest we become the dusty attic space for our repressed past. [TWEET THIS]
What is your Monster?
How do you organize your baggage?
What would it take to let go?