As a 57 year old woman penning these words, I am amply aware that I have accumulated some baggage in my lifetime. From the moment we are born into families, we are threaded through with ancestral messages; spoken and silent. As we move through childhood, adolesence and adulthood, we pack into our ever enlarging duffel bags, relationships, beliefs and behaviors. Some take the form of addiction and illness; others, emotional tsunamis that threaten to capsize our boats in the midst of the vast oceanic expanse with no rescue in sight.
When we find ourselves encountering another with whom we want to emabark on a journey, we notice the size of the baggage they are toting around. Some are overburdened with symbolic suitcases handed down to them by family legacy, while others are accumulated over time. It is at that moment, we have the opportunity to decide if we want to grab handles and hoist shoulder straps and haul away the luggage. If it is done with and not for the other person, with the expectation that it is a shared endeavor and that it is acceptable to put it down and rest for a bit, then it is manageable.
As a recovering co-dependent, workaholic, I have, sadly chosen to hoist, haul and carry the various sized containers brought into relationships. My marriage was the greatest example of said behaviors. In the 12+  years we were together (we met on October 24, 1986 and Michael died on December 21, 1998), I vacillated between willingly sharing the load and feeling obligated to do so. His history followed him into the marriage and in some ways, became our shared destiny. Although I saw clearly how many valises he toted in his life, I convinced myself that with enough love and determination, we could unpack them and toss some of what they contained. Giving us both credit, we were able to lighten the load  and by the time he died from end stage liver disease, some healing had taken place and I would like to think that he took the next leg of his journey, baggage-free.
In conversation a few nights ago, with my  face to face friend Greg Bullough., we were talking about the dynamics in relationships that involve said satchels. It continued onto the Facebook thread of another friend,  Tom Ziemann.
Greg: “Gee, it seems possible actually to love someone’s ‘baggage.'” It helps when you own a matching set, I guess.”

Edie: “You did mention that in our recent conversation too. Remember I said that I prefer carry on that can fit in the overhead compartment, or under the seat, rather than steamer trunk.”

Greg: “Truth to tell, most baggage is carry-on, when properly packed and handled. Much is simply a small personal item. It’s as often as not the handler who turns it into a steamer-trunk by not handling it well. “

It becomes light when someone says, “Let me help you carry that, and you can help me with some of mine.”
Seems to me that if we claim our own baggage, check it at the gate and decide if it meets weight and size standards, then we can travel light.
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