Not even an aside, just a part of a sentence, a prepositional phrase, a fragment of a sentence that stings. You try to brush it off, like a cobweb you innocently walked into. That stings too–the fact that you walked into it.
The cobweb sticks to your face and makes you sputter, indignantly.
It clings, because these sorts of communications often involve old patterns and ancient hurts. We know the speaker, and we know, or think we do, exactly what was insinuated. We have been here before.
I know my mother thinks my life is messy. Baggage is a descriptive adjective used our conversations. And I sputter. And it stings because I worry it might be true. Baggage isn’t even a compliment when it comes to travel. Nowadays people travel light. You are an amateur if you
have checked luggage and a seasoned professional if you can go for 3 weeks with a small carry-on and a change of underwear. Amateurs languish in long lines with many suitcases; professionals whip through the airports, traveling light and whistling.
I could believe that I have too much baggage to be acceptable in polite society—brokenness, demands, responsibilities, hurts, commitments–except that I have talked to you people. I have been open and real and told you about my messes and you have returned the trust and told me about yours. Like the beautiful woman who normally looks like she has it all together except that she is shopping in Costco with her 3 small monsters, I mean children, I found out that we all have baggage and we don’t have it all together. The only people who look like they don’t have baggage are those who have it under lock and key, constantly nipped at by worry that you might find out they aren’t perfect.
So, I choose to look at the comment differently. Maybe, my baggage, so to speak, is part of me and what has made me think, and grow, and learn compassion.
Let me challenge conventional wisdom here for a second.
What if traveling light means superficiality?
What if traveling without baggage means you tossed off a lesson without learning from it?
What if no baggage means you are traveling so fast, you don’t even see the wounded, fallen, or slightly rejected?
What if you can’t be real without a little luggage?