The reason for going to California was stellar. Our good friends were celebrating the marriage of their youngest son. Showing up was important to us.
The wedding was amazing. Scott and Melissa were the image of marriage excitement, not just wedding thrill.
I’m rather short of stature. John always tries to sit in the bulkhead or exit rows so he has room to stretch his legs.
I’ve no need for that. I’m lucky to touch the floor. Plane rides, at best, aren’t times of relaxation. They make me tired and sore.
When we arrived at LAX, with a gazillion other folks, we headed for baggage claim with the anticipation of the wedding and seeing friends we don’t see often enough.
We encountered something akin to a cattle drive. People funneling into a small space to receive their bags. Bumping one another, few conversations, eyes focused on luggage coming onto the carousel.
They were coming quite rapidly. So many bags, so little space.
There were three chutes that fed into the circling carousel, spewing bags out with passion.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Several flights worth of baggage were being delivered at once, and it was mayhem. A box circled that had “Fragile” written in bold letters on every side I could see.
I don’t think it received the treatment it deserved.
Bags piled on bags. People climbed on the edge to pull out luggage that had gotten covered by other random pieces. A gentleman next to us was laughing as he pointed to his bag under the pile, clearly unreachable.
I loved his attitude.
It took a while to unearth our luggage. The experience definitely put us in a humorous mindset–you can’t script that kind of activity.
Some folks were quite upset by the occurrence. Others saw the humor in what they couldn’t control. The folks with the “Fragile” box could have been understandably upset. No guarantees on what those contents looked like.
We all have baggage. We pack it as we move through life. Our experiences, families of origin, who we are as people, all add to what we carry with us. What we lug from place to place as we’re on our individual journeys.
There have been many times when I’m like that “Fragile” box, wanting others to treat me with kindness when I’m hurting. But unless I share what hurts or feels broken, no one can know what’s in my box.
I don’t unpack my stuff with everyone I meet.
Vulnerability is a gift we give to others. We let them know our truth, our reality, so there is freedom to respond to the known rather than guessing at what we hide.
That’s becoming harder to do culturally. We’ve made a practice out of managing our images. Our baggage.
Jesus lived with vulnerability. He didn’t hide who He was–He ticked off the religious leaders with His honesty. Yet His truth is what has made His truth and mission so long-lasting.
He’s the only God who offers to help us bear our baggage.
I can travel with that truth.