In 2011, when I went from commencing to begin to start to think about to actually creating a blog, I had no expectations or plans or even goals. I've been writing to find out what I think in one published form or another since 1990.
What to title the blog came out of nowhere and I vaguely recall it was the result of an exchange I had with an email pen pal of the time. I think my original concept was that I was ready to go, bags all packed. Being a surrendered Christian, I know my flaws very well but I also trust that Christ has those covered so I am not afraid to leave this mortal coil for the next life.
Of late I have begun to think that "bags all packed" might represent something else as well though.
There is no question that the last twelve plus months have seriously impacted the psychic health of most humans on this planet. Social divisions have fractured into unbridgeable chasms, emotions are worn thin and tempers heated to boiling point.
In the big scheme of things it almost seems like a test somehow: what is our limit and what are we able to endure before we implode? How bad does it have to get before we break up into unmendable pieces or...admit we need help from a Higher Source?
Suicides are more common, especially in the young and teen demographic. Marriages are dying at a higher rate than even before, which was already at an all time high percentage. Marriages not withstanding, families in general are splintered along political lines, of all things.
If I wanted to get seriously deep here, I'd have to reveal my deep concern for being able to see correlations with Biblical prophecy about the End of Times. Of course, being practical I could also refer to other eras of great stress and turmoil that might have caused similar conclusions of the day as well. Jesus, Himself, said He didn't know the hour or the day, only the Father knew, so I'm not going to get into those weeds.
The point I'm wrestling with is - what is the point? What should we come away with for all our angst and tribulations in this new normal? Is there something positive to be gained for all this trouble?
Well, for one thing, I considered that many of our struggles are less about outside influences and more about how we, as individuals, handle the slings and arrows we find ourselves dodging.
Maybe this is a good time to do some introspection? How much truth can we handle, especially about ourselves?
I think it comes to this - on our life journey we each arrive at a crossroads with things both hidden in our pockets, that we brought with us from our beginnings, and things we collected along the way and then stuffed in the invisible bag we lug around on our backs. Some good things and many not so good things.
We each are a product and sum total of all the attributes that we come preloaded with, starting with our basic personalities, and then added onto all the experiences and conditions that are thrown at us. Which explains why some folks can have very bad childhoods and yet step up to be good parents, while some turn out to be abusers because they were abused. It has to do with both innate and acquired coping skills, perspective and the ability to rise above adversity and hardship.
Regardless whether we choose to hold ourselves accountable for our circumstances, or blame shift, to transfer our own issues and the consequences of our choices on to someone or something else, we all, at some point in our lives, reach a fork in the road where we have the same question to answer:
What do I want to happen and what do I have to do, to let go of, or step up to, in order to make it happen?
Ask yourself, what do you want to be written as your final chapter, the recalling of the last path you chose?
Are you determined to cling to things you've had stuffed in your back pack for the better part of your life, the unhappy ragged bits and pieces, grudges, hurts, like being bullied or neglected, misunderstood or not appreciated, the times you failed or had to quit? Or would you be willing, for the sake of just finishing well, to take your heavy stuffed bag off and walk away to free yourself from the weight of the collected misery you have carried around for so long?
If you can't let go, if you are determined that all of your problems are external, not internal, that you have no control over your choices, your actions, your responses to the way life comes at you, that you have no obligations to anyone else because of your actions, then you will likely carry your bag all packed to capacity to the last word of your very last paragraph.
Someone I love said, the best way to have a relationship with God is to first get out of your own way. That could also apply to navigating this often pitted road of life too. We are mostly our own worst enemy.
An opportunist will take advantage of the present conditions of life being turned upside down, by, first, acknowledging we all have baggage. Then opening the bag, looking inside with honesty and making some cleaning out/letting go choices, which lightens the load and instantly opens up options for continuing on in a better, more productive, frame of mind.
But really the best, most freeing, positive thing you can do for yourself and those you love, is to just set the bag down and walk away from your determination to be burdened and step out, like being reborn, toward God's will for you.
Then take your first breath... again.
Matthew 11:28-30 RSV
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.