I always have mixed emotions when I return from an enjoyable vacation. I miss the adventure of being away from home, seeing exciting things, and discovering new places. At the same time, nothing beats the comfort of my own home where everything is familiar and feels safe.
That’s how it was with our most recent vacation. My heart was a little sad about the good-byes we had to say, but my comfy bed with my favorite pillow was a welcome sight. My head wouldn’t be sinking into my soft pillow, however, until after we unpacked our bags and suitcases. Ugh. I do not enjoy unpacking suitcases because it means the laundry basket will be full of items that will need my attention the next morning. Vacation officially ends when laundry begins.
As I opened my suitcase, I was greeted by the sweet scent of “clean linen” fragrance from the sachet I always keep in my luggage. Unfortunately, the sachet had broken open and covered the contents of my suitcase with a fresh-scented and dusty, sandy substance. Everything was a big mess! A big sweet-smelling mess! I was tired from traveling and just wanted to go to bed, so I shut the suitcase and tried not to think about my luggage catastrophe until morning.
Facing the dusty fragrance substance in my suitcase was no less frustrating in the morning, but I got to work. At first, I thought the scented stuff was only on the top layer of clothes, but as I removed each layer, there was more of the dust and sand substance hiding in creases and folds of clothing. Some of the sachet substance fell to the carpet, even though I tried to be very careful about my work. When I got to the bottom of the suitcase, I noticed that even more of the powdery stuff had found its way inside the lining. I ended up having to vacuum, scrub, and shake out as much of the stuff as I could. My cosmetic bag attracted the fragrance dust like a magnet, so it had to be emptied and scrubbed. When all was done, I heaved a sigh of relief and felt good about how my traveling items actually seemed cleaner than they had been for a long while.
I was curious about how this mess happened. I noticed the sachet envelope had been punctured. I checked my suitcase, and sure enough, there was evidence of some hard knocks, including a missing “Samsonsonite” label. My suitcase was all cleaned up but there was no way to get rid of all the scuffs and marks from the most recent episode of baggage abuse.
I kind of feel like my old Samsonite luggage. I’ve been around a while and I’ve endured some emotional abuse that is likely going to leave some scars – scars that will tell my story of renewal. I was thrown into an ugly mess when I learned that my husband is a sex addict. I spent months in denial and tried to keep a lid closed on what was really happening. Eventually, I was able to accept that I needed to work every day on my own healing. As I tried to sort through details and find my way through the layers or different experiences of the healing process, I often discovered more messes that needed cleaning. But I kept working. I worked through it, layer by layer. I’ve been scrubbed, cleaned up, and shaken in order to be someone that God can utilize again. The big difference between me and my luggage is that through Christ, I can be made new.
I admit, this isn’t a very poetic metaphor. It’s just a few thoughts that keep coming back to me this morning as I listen to the washing machine spin my “clean linen” scented clothing.