Sunday, February 28, 2010

We All Have Our Little Red Wagons

This phrase is one I’ve often heard from my dear Cursillo friend and spiritual director Jeannine. When we’ve talked about baggage from the past such as sinfulness, heartbreak, sickness, loss, worries, painful memories, etc., she’ll get to a point when she’ll remind me that “we all have our little red wagons.” It’s true. Everyone carries with them or pulls behind them excess stuff from the past. I know she’s been saying this to people for a number of years because another friend bought her a little red wagon that now sits on her fireplace.
    
While I agree that we all have things from the past that we carry with us, I’d have to say that I’ve more often carried my load in a full-sized expedition backpack. My tendency, especially over a period of about twelve years, was to shove all of my hurt, pain, suffering, sadness, and anger into a pack that became a very heavy load for me to bear. I carried it with me at all times, took things out only to examine them and put them back in again. I preferred to keep the “stuff” in my very large pack concealed from everyone. I didn’t want any of it stolen or rearranged by other people. I had no intention of leaving any item behind for fear I might need it for something in the future.
    
Being opened to God’s love and getting a better idea of how He sees me has helped me ditch some of the baggage in my backpack, trade it in for a smaller one, and even feel comfortable enough to share the contents of my bag with people I’ve come to trust. Kevin, my husband, has certainly helped by loving me regardless of the size and weight of my backpack. He has pointed out when I start stuffing too much in it or when I spend too much time examining what’s inside but don’t get rid of anything and move forward.
    
Lord, please help us be compassionate to all we meet knowing that they, too, have their burdens to carry or pull behind them. Give us the courage to let You in all areas of our lives to determine what needs to stay and what it’s time to let go. Teach us to tread softly when others share with us their baggage so that we are able to be Your loving, healing presence in the midst of their pain. Amen.

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