I view life like a train with many cars. We all board the train as passengers, carrying with us an empty satchel. As we ride, we fill this bag with memories and the emotions attached to them. The bag can get pretty full because we tend to be neglectful of emptying it of the things that no longer serve us. Sometimes we think those things are genuinely purposeful in our lives and we guard them, paying more attention to them than we do the beautiful scenery and the companions sharing the journey.
We even pick up baggage that’s not ours and carry it as if it were. It may make us feel useful at first, but it always becomes cumbersome over time. We can unpack the other person’s baggage, but doing so doesn’t lessen the burden upon us and it doesn’t actually help the other person either; the only way to be relieved of that weight is to hand the bag back to its owner, and if that’s not possible, we just need to let it go and move on. It can be painful, but we must learn to leave their baggage there for them to do with as they will. We are each responsible for the energy we exude and the baggage we carry.
Each train car is packed with souls on the way to their own curated destiny. People board and exit the train all the time. Some are even pushed from the car while it’s in motion, forcing them off at an unanticipated destination. Moving from car to car is not the same as leaving or joining the ride. A few people will share in our journey for a long time and we will share in theirs while others come and go quickly or are passengers in our peripheral.
Outside the sliding doors of the train is an entire galaxy of experience that we have all known but will not remember, and this is by divine design. Once inside the car, the view through the window is new and full of possibility, but occasionally, there will be confusing glimpses of other lives familiar to our souls but not to the culmination of cells that create this particular existence. We attach these unregistered memories like stickers to the satchel we carry upon us; they serve as reminders that we have been places, have seen things, have come from somewhere, have lived. We accumulate more stickers from the people we meet on the ride – sometimes these decorations are welcome additions to our montage and other times they feel more like vandalism; regardless, these are impressions of the lessons we have learned and the bonds we’ve created.
No two journeys are the same; yet, each has elements of commonality such as joy, sorrow, and solitude. With proper perspective – which usually has to be learned – there is wisdom to be gained, peace to be experienced, happiness to be made, and love to be shared. Those who struggle with a darkened view and a hardened heart will not openly see their journey with gratitude, causing their satchel to become burdensome. For them, the repetitive chug of the engine is painful and lonely.
Passengers with a gracious heart must be mindful of journeying with those unwilling or unable to find the treasures hidden within the monotony of the ride. If not managed, dark shadows tend to cloud and suppress the wonder of joyous passengers. The temptation to help carry the load of others may be great, but it’s best to love our fellow journey-goers through it and to be there for them when they work to unload the hardships they’ve collected. This is the process of holding space for someone. If they hand their baggage to you, gently but firmly refuse to take it. If you find yourself holding it for them, hand it back or set it at their feet. They may exit the train before you or move to another car, leaving their loaded satchel behind. It’s not yours to pick up. You have a sticker on your own bag to serve as a reminder of them and experiences once shared. Walk away from the burden that wasn’t meant nor designed for you, and continue to embark on the journey that is joyously and beautifully yours.