The Backpack

The intoxicating smell of the brand new pack of 6 Crayola crayons made my five-year-old heart happy.

I eagerly pulled my favourite forest green crayon out of the package, holding it gently to my nose and inhaling deeply.

It made my heart happy.

I loved school.

Next, I pulled a pair of small scissors that would assist in all my creations I would eagerly bring home to my mom to decorate her fridge with.

It also made my little heart happy.

I reached down again into the Stylerite paper bag from the store all our shopping was done in those years in the 70s. It was our Walmart of the decade.

I pulled out a brand new wooden ruler with a thin metal edge for all the measuring and counting I would need to do in mathematics class… Not my favourite subject but a new ruler could always pull me through.

Next were my brand new navy blue and white canvas indoor lace-up runners that would live on my feet for my school day.

I always loved the feel of a new Runner as they only happened once a year at this time.

A brand new Art smock was next for protection of my new clothes my mom had sewn for the new school year. Just a simple plastic smock but none the less new and only mine.

My own floral box of Kleenex lay at the bottom of the bag ready for a year of runny noses and sneezes and maybe a tear or two from a scraped knee..

I eagerly pack everything into my homemade blue gean drawstring backpack made by my mom with her crafty handwork adorning the bag in strategic places. Well-placed red needlepoint flower here and the yellow one there, but most importantly to me, my name stitched in bright block letters.

I was ready from my first day of grade 3 just a two-block walk from my childhood Hanover Street home.

I stuffed my blue homemade hooded corduroy jacket quickly into the opening as a last minute thought as I ran out the door to my elementary school.

As I skipped happily along, my eyes spotted a few multicolored stones lining the sidewalk haphazardly. One was surely not enough.

They all caught my attention. Eagerly I scooped handfuls of rocks and pebbles all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some sparkled some didn’t but all caught my eye.

My imagination soared as I wondered what i could all create from these beauties or perhaps just display them on my bedroom dresser when I got home.

I quickly ran the rest of the way as I heard the chimes of the morning bell in the distance. The handfuls of beautiful treasures didn’t seem at all heavy as they were only handfuls at a time and my excitement overshadowed any thing else.

I loved those first days of fall, skipping happily to my elementary school with all I needed in my homemade jean backpack.

But day after day as I set out, I couldn’t help but notice I became more tired as I made my way to school every morning.

Then Saturday came around. It was wash day deemed by my mom, and my homemade backpack was on the list.

As my mom turned it inside out to protect the handstitched flowers, heavy handfuls of a beautiful array of treasures danced noisely onto the cement laundry room floor.

I had forgotten about the treasures I’d found the first day of school.

My walk to school the next school day seemed to go surprisingly faster as my back pack had only what I needed for my day.

My tiredness was gone.

My young self didn’t necessarily make the connection..I was just to happy not to be tired.

**************

Fast forward 45 years. The lesson learned that day has been a journey.

The days I felt tired, I needed to take a closer look as to what I was carrying. Why… And if it was mine to carry.

Life can get tricky like that if we are carrying things that attract as shiny sparkling stones that don’t belong in our backpacks.

It may be guilt over lies we may be believing, resentment, hurts that are buried deep in your backpack. Unforgiveness, self judgement, unresolved trauma…

All disguised as shiny stones… treasures we feel we need to keep for all the reasons we come up with, until one day we find ourselves exhausted from the weight of our “backpack”.

The mountains are high and the valleys are low in everyone’s lives…We can’t afford to be tired.

There is Hope.

Our God wants to turn our backpack inside out.

Let Him.

Let Him shake all those shiny pebbles that seem like disguised treasures, out of your life.

Keep only that which will help you live your abundant life here on the planet.

He will help you keep only the crayons that give your heart a lovely fragrance anytime you hold it close.

Keep only the shoes that take you places your God gives passion and purpose.

Keep only the Kleenex box for those who help wipe your tears in life to keep you moving on.

And then He will help you remember the only coat you need to keep with you is His coat of Righteousness He lovingly puts on you as His ultimate gift from where all of life can be lived victoriuosly.

Sit with Him.

And sit some more.

Sitting with our God of the universe, the only one who has been there every second of your life and has seen it all, will speak deep into your soul.

Listen and begin the process of dumping all that you are not meant to carry…trade the tired.

from that which you carry… and leave only that which is truly meant to stay…

In… The Backpack.

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