My son and I just came back from a mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico… our first. We’ve never really been anywhere, so this trip was filled with a lot of “firsts.” Our whole group was three moms & three sons. A great combination of women and boys!
There is a couple from our church who moved to Tuxtepec, Mexico. We all stayed with them. Before our trip, we were instructed not to check bags, just take carry-ons. I’m sure there were a few reasons for this, but it made it hard for this unseasoned traveler to pack. Our group had our packing all mapped out in our minds (a bunch of moms always have plans). Then, we were told that we needed to bring a donated guitar… a huge backpack with batteries for the drone… and two filled bags of toys and candy. AAAAHHHHH! Are you kidding me?! How are we supposed to take all that since we are not checking bags? Sigh…
Quite honestly, the three of us had conversations about this… “why did he decide now that he needs a guitar?”… “why do we have to carry this stuff?”… “can’t the next team take it?” … “he told us to just carry-on bags to make it easier, doesn’t he know adding stuff is making it harder?” In the end, we sucked it up and took everything.
The family carrying the drone battery backpack was stopped in every airport. The backpack was big and looked weird on the inside. It looked questionable. We had small delays through every security checkpoint. An inconvenience. My son carried the guitar, it was awkward to carry and to find space for in the overhead bins on the airplanes. Another inconvenience. We all packed the toys & candy. This wasn’t a big deal, but it meant less packing room in our suitcases.
As our journey went on, we became more at ease with our excess baggage, it was less of a pain once we knew what to expect.
I will tell you though, when we got to Mexico, the missionary was so happy to have the drone batteries so he could document the area with his drone. And, our translator, who also played the guitar, was elated to have it. She opened the bag and said “I am in love with this guitar… it smells like America.” When we were in the villages, the people (kids mostly) would watch the drone footage on the screen. They were amazed and delighted to see such views of their own areas. Our children gave the toys and candy to different village children. Our kids and their kids were ecstatic over these exchanges.
But, what if we wouldn’t have carried all this?
Figuratively, in all of our lives we carry excess baggage (life experiences/struggles). Sometimes they are big and bulky, sometimes awkward, and sometimes we just pack them away with our other stuff… but we all have excess baggage. The joy is realizing that no matter what baggage you have, God will use it for good. He may use it to help someone else, he may use it to bless you, if you’re lucky, both. The blessings may show up sooner… or later… but I guarantee, they will show up. You just have to open your eyes to see them.
Literally, sometimes we just have to physically carry something so someone else doesn’t have to. We can carry a load to lighten someone else’s.