Sunday, April 25, 2010

Old Baggage

I remember the day I found this bag. I carried it around the store for more the an hour, waiting for a long conversation with an old friend to end before I approached the register. I had my cell phone in one hand, the bag in the other as I shared the big news - I was moving to Arizona for pastoral internship.

I browsed clothing racks while confessing that I wasn't too sure about this whole "pastor" thing. I'd come to seminary hoping to study theology while avoiding pulpits and clerical collars. Suddenly, two years were almost over and I'd been matched with an internship site I was actually excited about.

I bought this red bag on one of the last days of class. It came with me to every day of CPE at Fairview Ridges in Burnsville that summer. It held my occasional services book, pastoral care resources and my smallest leather bound Bible while I moved from room to room, patient to patient. The bag came with me while I learned how powerful it is to represent God's loving presence to another. It came with me when my pager would go off in the middle of the night and when I would meet families in waiting rooms.

My red baggage got plenty of use in Arizona. It held my books and church keys. I brought it with me on bike rides and even kept bear spray in it during hikes to appease my supervisor. (He'd had 24 interns and none of them were eaten by bears - why start now?) The bag is big with plenty of pockets so I would find old post-it note prayers and little gifts from parishioners weeks and months later. I reached for this bag all 50 weeks of internship - 50 weeks of finally falling in love with God's call.

The bag has been tearing here and there since it became my backpack during senior year and my purse during this first call. Now it peels, leaving little red crumbs around our house and my office. It's been ready for a replacement, but I've been hesitant to say goodbye.

Call it idolatry. Tell me I have attachment issues or that I need a pet. Still, I'm feeling sentimental as I toss the tattered bag that saw me through so much discernment and ministry.

Bye bye, baggage. Thanks for tagging along through big, beautiful years.


Kathryn said...

Oh, how I miss seeing you with that bag...

Skippy said...

I'll bet you could even have put a concealed weapon in there!!!