This suitcase has been with me for eleven years. It was one of the two I packed to move overseas for a year. It was quite an investment at the time because I wanted it to last and because I wanted features like dual wheels.
But I haven’t traveled overseas in quite a while nor have I gone on a trip where a suitcase this size would even be reasonable to pack. Seriously our four-year-old and one-year-old could both fit in this suitcase comfortably.
So why is it still with me?
Because we get attached to stuff.
Objects remind us of experiences and people and new identities. For me, this suitcase was a reminder of my courage in moving to a foreign country for a year. This suitcase reminded me that I really didn’t need as much stuff as I thought I needed to live for a year somewhere. This suitcase reminded me of the clarity and call I received while overseas to become a preacher and pastor. And so I have kept it.
Lent invites us to look at things differently, yes even suitcases. This morning I dropped off this suitcase at a local nonprofit that offers sanctuary and shelter for children who have to be removed from their homes and are awaiting foster care families. They have asked for suitcases because many times the children are relocated quickly and only have a trash bag or grocery sack of belongings. They don’t have sturdy bags that they can move from place to place.
When I dropped off this suitcase, the woman said, “Thank you. This is a nice big one. Oh and it rolls!”
This is where this suitcase needs to be, not in my closet.
Leaning into Lent means letting go of stuff, even stuff that served really important roles in our lives and in our transformation.