Lost Baggage

On a trip to Rome for the wedding of a relative who grew up there and whose parents still live in Rome, my husband and I arrived but our suitcases didn’t.  Trying to sleep the second night we were there, lying in bed wearing my friend’s nightgown, I fretted.  Not only was I missing my clothes for coping with the heat of Rome and the special dress I had picked for the wedding, I was missing jewelry I had packed, including several pieces of some value and much sentimental significance.

I felt foolish for having packed the necklaces, helpless in the face of cultural and language barriers and airline run-arounds, and pained by the mistakes and losses.  I lay there hurting.  Eventually I turned to prayer—not so much the kind with words addressed to God requesting a fix or a rescue, but more putting my heart in the goodness of God.  At a certain point I felt myself let go.  I valued the clothes and jewelry; but as far as I knew they were gone, and they were only things, possessions.  I had a choice—to be miserable or to make the best of things and be open and present to the adventure.

I had a wonderful time.  Letting go of fretting about my losses also let go much of my usual need to be in control and even my perfectionism.  In the week we were in Rome I found joy all over the place.  And that joy has followed me home, allowing even more spiritual and psychological changes and freedom.

In reflecting on the experience I find myself back in the Lord ’s PrayerGive us this day our daily bread.  As I understand these words, all we need is what God knows we need for this one day.  All the extra is unnecessary, maybe even baggage that gets in the way of life.  I still have too much stuff, and I’m not interested in losing anything.  But I do have a taste of another way.

(P.S.: We did retrieve our luggage, with no items missing, one month after it should have arrived in Rome.)

Queries:

What baggage would you benefit from letting go?

Where can you go for comfort and direction when things go wrong?

Prayer:

Creator and Sustainer, help me to know what really matters and to be able to let go of the rest.

For further reflection:

“Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (See Luke 12: 13-21.)

“. . . do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. . . (See Matthew 6: 25-34).

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4 thoughts on “Lost Baggage

  1. this is a wonderful story, and metaphor for so much!
    I am at NEYM annual sessions this week, and Yesterday many things happened that took a busy day with commitments away from me. I fretted a lot at first, but then, realizing I had no control, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me let go of my illusion of control, and lead me to grace in navigating life as it is. I used the Welcoming prayer, with great success!

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  2. Patty, thoughts on what we need to carry around. You managed this beautifully, spiritually and were gifted by the experience. Thank you for sharing this. Tootsie >

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  3. Thank you for this reflection, Patty. Having traveled this summer to Italy myself, I could just imagine… You’ve reminded me of the core of the Quaker testimony of simplicity. We are given all that we need, “enough.” And I’m glad your luggage was returned eventually, regardless.
    with love and gratitude,
    Chris

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  4. Your message spoke to my condition today. Thank you. I’m glad to hear your baggage was recovered, but I love the way you added it as an addendum, indicating that it wasn’t the main point. The point was in surrendering to the joy rather than submitting to the worry.

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