I am a little squeamish about checking my golf clubs on commercial airline flights. I have this image of my clubs ending up in Hong Kong, and it takes the airline six months to find out what happened to them. It just gives me the shivers. Several years ago I had the opportunity to play in a tournament during a conference in the Detroit area, so I broke down and checked my clubs, which were neatly packed in their canvas carrier specially designed for such a purpose.
When I arrived in Detroit, I immediately picked up my suitcase off the conveyer belt. So far so good… The conveyer belt stopped, but my golf clubs were no where to be seen. The Hong Kong image once again began to haunt my thoughts. I wondered if my clubs were just invisible and could not be seen by the naked eye. The gracious lady at American Airlines finally helped me locate my precious missing cargo, which had been placed in a corner with other over-sized pieces. Such is the saga of traveling with all kinds of baggage.
I have been reminded recently that all of us travel through life with all kinds of baggage. Commercial airlines have nothing to do with it. We carry baggage around with us caused by broken relationships, parents that abandoned us, untimely deaths, job losses, and a variety of disappointments. And then there is the baggage being carried that was added as a result of childhood sexual abuse, traumatic events, and other issues fueled by a dark world.
When we become romantically involved with someone else, the existence of some of that baggage remains hidden. I think there are a variety of reasons why that is the case. We are afraid that the other person would think less of us if they knew our real story. I would say that it is even more common for the existence of such baggage to be stuffed so deeply in the recesses of our mind that we don’t’ even think about it.
The person we end up marrying in some cases is aware that we are carrying some baggage. And in all likelihood, they are too! But the partner has no clue that there is more baggage that did not appear on the conveyer belt, when the relationship was in its formative stages. Such baggage is hidden in a corner just like my golf clubs. As time goes by, the once hidden emotional luggage appears out of nowhere.
Sweet young ladies discover that their knight in shining armor has serious addictions. Young men with the best of intentions discover after being married for 5 or more years that their bride was the victim of horrific sexual abuse. In some cases, the discovery of the hidden baggage threatens the integrity of the relationship itself. There is no denying that such events take place, but what is the solution?
I don’t have any simplistic solutions. I do know that relationships will be tested when the once hidden emotional suitcases are exposed. And I am convinced that it takes a lot of patience. Honesty is a good policy. A compassionate heart goes a long way. Accountability is a necessity.
I would have been terribly disappointed if American Airlines had failed to discover the location of my golf clubs before the tournament in Michigan that spring day. One of their capable employees came to the rescue! When emotional baggage is discovered too late, the repercussions are more significant than a missed golf tournament. In some cases, trust is destroyed permanently. How I hope that those closest to me feel that they can be transparent with those who truly care for them. I hope that I can serve in a similar fashion to the lady who discovered my missing baggage, because there is no need to travel through life with hidden baggage aboard.