Removing your baggage

The News Quiz on Friday (23:30 in) included a story about the updated Paddington Bear film, and Sandi Toksvig quipped that Paddington would still arrive at the station, he’d just be ‘removed and destroyed by the security services’.  Holly Walsh continued in the same vein (around 26:30 in), complaining that the customer announcement which threatens how unattended items will be destroyed without warning actually constitutes a warning.  Instead she said it should just go ‘bing bong – BANG.’

For the last several weeks there has been an unattended suitcase outside the front of my house, but the security services didn’t seem at all interested.  Disappointingly the refuse services also seemed uninterested, for it was empty and broken and clearly discarded by somebody.  It sat there for weeks.  Once I moved it along a little in case my neighbour would claim it, but she moved it back.  Another neighbour said how she thought she’d previously seen it on the other side of the road.  It really was the baggage nobody wanted.

There’s a link to a previous blog where I talked about Juliet being rejected by her father.

Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
You tallow-face!

he cried, and a few lines later

Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!
(Romeo & Juliet, Act 3 Scene 5)

He’s describing her as being good for nothing, just a burden.  While I don’t think this is fair to Juliet, I suppose there are people who sometimes seem like a burden.  Often because of the troubles they are carrying themselves.

IMG_2807Talking about baggage that we are carrying seems something of a therapy term, and the idea of letting go of the baggage we are struggling with is perhaps sometimes simplified or over-used.  Some baggage is definitely more cumbersome than others.  They seem to make suitcases so large these days that they can be loaded so heavy that they are practically impossible to lift.  Thankfully they come with integral wheels although these are perhaps not manageable over every terrain.  I think I’ve mostly seen such large cases used by international students and I suppose if they are travelling for a term or more it is justified, although I’m sure some people take way too much stuff on a shorter holiday.  I’m still deciding between a rucksack and a mid-size case for my trip this summer.  Rucksack seems more adventurous, but the wheels are certainly handy.

Maybe reviewing the things we are carrying and deciding whether they are really necessary is a useful exercise, both when packing for a holiday and when thinking more metaphorically about the burdens we are carrying.  We are encouraged to carry one another’s burdens (Gal 6 v 2), but then we are also exhorted to cast our burdens/anxieties onto Jesus who cares for us (1 Peter 5 v 7).  Either way, we are not expected to keep carrying everything ourselves but perhaps there’s an active step required to the extent of putting something down or asking for help.

Last night I wrote a note to my binmen, appealing for their assistance about the abandoned case outside my house that had been there for weeks, shoved from house to house, across the street and gathering litter.  I managed to fit the case into a big bin-liner and taped the note on the top, saying that the case wasn’t mine, someone had dumped it there and I don’t have a car to be able to take it to the dump.  I asked please could they take it away.  And they did.

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