We all have baggage. Everyone has a story. There's a past to each of our lives. Some of it includes things we bury deeply, hoping to never uncover what it is we want left unclaimed. Wadded up rags that bear no resemblance of the originals they used to be. Some of it we display proudly, showing marks of courage, achievement or a valuable lesson learned. Carefully stowed making sure not to harm the priceless piece. But no matter how you pack it, the baggage you carry with you is in fact a part of you.

If you show up for your journey without any luggage, you're simply ill-prepared for your trip. So when you come to the table of life, you bring your bags loaded with life lessons, hard knocks, flaws and failures, and ultimate successes.

If you're traveling alone, you can expect to lug your bags around and struggle with all you've got packed. If you're traveling with a companion, you can expect they're going to have baggage too! So double up on the struggle because just like you, the other has packed a whole lot of life experiences and circumstances to carry along.

While we're in this figurative world, we're never really going to "arrive" at our destination. This is really all about the journey. And all along the way, we pick up tokens to continue to pack and take with us. Momentos, souvenirs, items to remember the journey by. Some we categorize in the prized possession manifest and pack gently and delicately to protect and preserve their value. Others we throw in the bag, never mindful of where they might land or what condition they may end up in.

There's an actual store in Alabama called "Unclaimed Baggage." (Yes, of course, this shopping queen has been there!) Thousands of items - everything you can possibly imagine taking on any kind of a trip and then some - fill a gigantic warehouse waiting for purchase. Notice I said purchase, not to be reclaimed. These are all items formerly belonging to unfortunate souls who've lost or never claimed their bags. For our purposes, this store is a haven of "stuff" collected that left a location belonging to one person and ended up on a journey only to become "lost." They don't make it back "home" with their original owners.

Wouldn't we love to drop off some of our own baggage along the way? Inevitably, what we leave behind, though, does in fact find its way to someone else. The thing is, you never know what kind of impact it may have. Some good, some not.

I've used this verse before in a blog, but it's too appropriate not to mention again:

"So they asked the LORD, "Where is he?" And the LORD replied, "He is hiding among the baggage."" 1 Samuel 10:22

The thing I can most assuredly say is that we can't run or hide from our baggage, so hiding among it is also out of the question. Yes, it's coming with you whether you like it or not. So it's time to face reality. You have baggage. And part of what you've learned and experienced and dealt with is helping prepare you for each and every new circumstance you face along the journey. So buckle up, hang on tight, and lug your bags. The journey will be worth it!

(Disclaimer: For those of you worried that there is no freedom from bondage, that wasn't the point of this blog. At least not today! :) )


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