I have an old suitcase, one of those little brown ones, made from a sturdy cardboard, very much like the one in the picture. It was my grade two suitcase. Today it is filled with old family photographs, black and white memories and colourful moments back in time. I love looking through the photo's, smelling the age that clings to them. Some of the people are familiar faces, others just vaguely remembered and quite a few are total strangers, their names lost with the passing of my parents. Looking at them always leaves me with nostalgia.
I have another suitcase too. It is very old and battered and crammed to the point of bursting. I have had it most of my life and it is constantly getting heavier. It is quite a burden to lug around everywhere. I am quite sure you have one too. Most people do. It is tiresome to carry it around, but it is so familiar, and we are so used to it that we can hardly bear to get rid of it.
This suitcase is also full of memories. These memories, however, rarely make one smile. These are memories of past pains, long ago hurts, ancient anger and resentment, agonising guilt and unbearable shame. Maybe your suitcase is filled to overflowing with the hurtful things people have said, things your parents did, insult your friends hurled at you, memories of broken trust and a shattered heart.
With every year, every lesson learnt the suitcase becomes heavier. Dragging it around drains us of energy, yet we cannot bear to leave it behind, there is comfort in its familiar feel. It has become a safety net. Whenever something new beckons I quickly open it up and find a dozen reasons why it could not possibly work. My suitcase is an excellent protection plan against new love, relationships, exciting ventures or the future.
It keeps us from dreaming, hoping, flying. Holding onto this suitcase prevents me from grabbing hold of any blessings. The weight of it drags us down, it dulls our senses and robs us of our joy. There is only one thing to do. We have to open it and throw out all those past negative memories. We have to discard our resentments, our fears and our anger.
Butterflies dance so easily through life. They would have been unable to fly if they had to carry an extra load. Their wings would not have been able to support any additional weight. On the flight of life there is no room for extra baggage, for our own sake, we have to travel light. Just pack a smile, a happy heart and be ready to be surprised!