This is not about travel. It’s about the journey to the river.
On this journey, everyone has baggage. Baggage is something from the past that we carry into the the present. It may be welcome or unwelcome. It may be pleasant or painful. Some goes back to childhood. Other baggage appears from recent events.
Baggage begins with wild success and intense pleasure. Or with pain and failure. Whatever it’s origin, good or bad, it weighs us down. It makes us less nimble, less mobile. Less able to navigate in the moment.
In order to know your story you must take time to examine your baggage. It is part of the journey, and it can explain a lot.
Minor Damage, Major Trauma
I followed a driver along a twisting two lane in the dark of night. Suddenly a deer ran from the right shoulder of the road. It smashed into the driver’s car, hitting near the right front wheel. The driver swerved violently to the left, nearly losing control. Finally, he righted the car and continued on his way. The damage was minor.
I continued to follow. A few miles down the road, the driver again careened nearly out of control. For no apparent reason. Then it happened again, and again, and again.
Finally, I saw the reason for the wild behavior. Every time the driver passed a road sign on the right shoulder of road, the reflective surface of the sign flashed in the headlights near his right front wheel. This triggered the memory of the recent deer collision and he over-reacted by instinct.
The damage had been minor but the trauma was major.
Mountain from a Mole Hill
Any over-reaction tells you that you are carrying baggage. Something from your past is putting you out of whack with present reality. Trauma can be the trigger. So can extreme pleasure.
The Smell of New Leather
A pre-teen girl longed for her Daddy. He served as a Navy Seal in war zones. After years of absence, he returned home unexpectedly. He met her at the entrance to her school and drove her home in a brand new luxury car. She never forgot the absolute magic of it. Everything was right with the world.
Years later, her father was killed in action. As she entered college, she impulsively bought a brand new luxury car. She had to give up her education to earn enough money to pay for it. The right car for her was a used car but she wanted that new car smell. And we know why. Baggage.
Once again, baggage weighs us down. Good or bad. It makes us less nimble, less mobile. Less able to navigate in the moment.
Repacking for Life
Have you examined your baggage? Are you blind to it? Maybe you don’t even know you have it.
Think about this: Do you sometimes operate on autopilot? Do you wonder why you sometimes do things that undermine your success? Things that weigh you down? Do you always say stuff you know better than to say? Do you repeat the same mistake again and again, like the car swerving in the road for no reason?
One Step Forward
Take note. This is your baggage. I encourage you to check it out right now. Make a list of your over-reactions, and look beneath them. They are pointing to important parts of yourself.
Remember, this is not about feeling bad and promising to do better. It is simply about understanding. You are a wonderful creature and you will outgrow your problems. You will eventually overcome the things that defeat you. For now, just look at yourself. Don’t do the self help thing. Just see yourself in a better mirror. That’s all.
To be continued…
I know too well the triggers of baggage from the past. I totally agree with you “You will eventually overcome the things that defeat you.” Amen! Thanks for sharing these powerful truths.
Nichole, it is an honor to hear from you. I know some of your story and you are a great blessing to many!
Thanks for the comment, Nichole.
On our family visit last summer in the States, we desperately needed new luggage. It had been many years since we had changed our luggage…until everything falls apart and cannot be used anymore, we headed to the store only to get rid of the old and walk out with the new! Isn’t it incredible how lugguge can be compared on so many levels?
I appreciate how you wrote of this you g girl and her need to feel the feelings of that day with her father.
Charis student 11:02 am main sanctuary. ; ) 1 of 3. Ha ha.
Thank you for this post mr. Bransford. It’s very sobering and definitely calls for some introspection.
I’ve made a career out of helping people unpack that baggage and decide what to do with what they find there. Nice insights – and oh so true.