Excess baggage, both temporal and spiritual, has been a real problem this week.
After more than two years of planning, saving, and praying our schedules and financial situations would coincide, my friends and I are finally leaving the Garden State for a two-week stay in the Aloha State. Yes, the long-anticipated Hawaii trip will commence early this Saturday morning, and I have been quite busy preparing my belongings for the nearly 5500-mile journey.
(An aside: in the interests of accuracy, I just did a Google Maps search to learn the actual door-to-door distance. Once I entered in my NJ home address and the address of the Hawaiian condo, the site gave very precise driving directions. Yes, I said driving directions! Travelling northwest across the continental United States, the Google geniuses direct you from central NJ to Seattle, Washington in 28 easy steps. Step #29 reads “Kayak across the Pacific Ocean for 2,756 miles.” Since it might be too late to bulk up at the gym’s rowing machine, I guess I’ll have to fly instead.)
This past weekend I decided to amass all the essentials I need to survive for the two weeks in paradise. Clothing appropriate for every possible event and climate, the electronics I use each waking moment, long-saved reading material for the plane and beach, and other niceties were stacked around the room then forcibly stuffed into my luggage. My suitcase resembled a boa constrictor which had swallowed a whole pig and weighed about a third more than the airline’s stipulated 50 pounds. My excess baggage would weigh heavily on those little round suitcase wheels … and my wallet.
My spiritual life, too, is weighed down by sin. Tough I’m in church multiple times each week to cantor or report, I haven’t sought the grace of absolution nearly as often as I should. To rid myself of the excess baggage of sin will require the help of the confessional; I’ll ask a Catholic priest in our fiftieth state to confer Christ’s absolution for my shortcomings. Transporting my Jersey sins to an unsuspecting Hawaiian priest accustomed to hearing “I hit my sister with a coconut” or “I took my brother’s surfboard” might be a bit jarring, but God’s love transcends any
distance, over water or not, without the use of Google Maps or a strong-limbed kayaker.
So my goal from now until Saturday is to jettison the excess baggage: take out a few t-shirts, prepare for a good confession, and enjoy the lighter loads. I’ll give you details when I return; I predict God’s humor and blessings should abound no matter where I am!