Almost breaking his back, my husband, Ed inhaled deeply, then exhaled, as he lifted my bulging suitcase onto the airline check-in scale.
“Fifty-five pounds,” the airline clerk said, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, sir, but this luggage exceeds the fifty-pound limit. It’s a $50 charge for the extra weight.”
Ed’s eyes hardened to angry pinpoints and the veins in his neck were about to burst as he glared straight at me.
“Blast, Venice ! You always take the house and now it’s costing me money!” He threatened to tear into my suitcase and repack it, but concerned we’d miss our flight, he fumed instead.
“Sorry,” I said, hanging my head, feeling it turn several shades of red. But for now “sorry” was only an empty word to save me from further embarrassment. I just knew everyone in line behind us was staring at the live drama played out in front of them.
Ed slammed five tens on the counter and headed for the security check-in line and then, the departure gate. I trudged along, still humiliated, at least 100 feet behind him.
Sitting several chairs from him, I felt the uncomfortable silence between us as we waited to board our plane. My face buried in my crocheting, I pondered, Why do I always over pack?
Unlike my husband, I am not a good traveler. Preferring the comforts of home, I take the house with me—- everything from my portable fan (whose hum puts me to sleep even in the dead of winter) to heavy library books, extra clothing, and needlework projects.
Thinking of home, I had to admit I had too much stuff there, too. My closets bulged with clothes I’d never worn. My sewing room was cluttered with fabric and uncompleted projects—my kitchen drawers, crammed with gadgets I never used.
A little decluttering was needed in both my suitcase and my house.
Still unsettled, I decided to have my daily quiet time. Reaching for my Daily Nugget devotional, the Holy Spirit spoke softly, First, you need to forgive your husband
Holding back tears, I told God I was sorry…. but not yet ready to apologize to Ed, face-to-face, for making a scene.
Then, the scripture for the day hit me broadside like a tidal wave.
“…..let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” Hebrews 13:1(NLT)
It’s not just my suitcase and house that need decluttering. My spiritual baggage was also slowing down my journey with God.
Flashed before me were wounds I’d been nursing for years which needed to be healed. I also thought how I was hanging onto to worrying and overeating. Just as I needed to shed a some pounds, I also needed to drop the extra baggage weighing me down spiritually.
“Flight 777 to Dallas is ready for boarding.” The boarding announcement abruptly interrupted my quiet time.
Ed and I rose from our seats, our eyes meeting for the first time since our public spat.
Then, blurting out at the same time, we said, “I’m sorry.”
Half-smiling, we grabbed our carry-on bags and boarded the plane.
A week later, at my mother’s townhouse, we repacked my suitcase for the trip back home. Pulling out books (that I never read), I stuffed them in our carry-on bags, along with my portable fan. I also gave my mom some pantsuits I’d rarely worn. It amazed me how I’d never touched half the stuff in my suitcase. My suitcase now tipped the bathroom scale at 35 pounds! We were ready to say our goodbyes and head to the airport. It was freeing to pull lighter luggage and not worry about paying an extra weight fee.
Since that trip to Texas several years ago I’ve taken several other trips with my husband. I still don’t enjoy traveling as much as he does. But traveling is more enjoyable since I’ve left the extra baggage behind.
Most of all, I am enjoying my spiritual journey more these days. Since I’ve stopped carrying those hurts and sins that weigh me down, I’m much freer to run the race that God has set before me.
With a lighter suitcase, I can help someone else pull their “luggage”, pointing them to the open-armed Savior who wants to carry all our burdens.