With the new year approaching, resolutions are right around the corner.
In talking about our wishes for 2017, my roommate commented that she wanted to lose emotional weight. While most people desire to lose physical pounds, she’s wanting to shed the emotional heaviness—the pain, resentment, anger, hopelessness, and fear—that has weighed her down for years.
We have the same resolution.
During a therapy session several weeks ago, I told my therapist that “happy endings only belong in children’s books. They’re the stuff of fairy tales, not real life.”
She then asked, “Who would you be if you actually believed in real life happy endings?”
I answered, “I have no idea.”
Immediately after my response, I had the following vision:
It’s a split screen. The right side is drab. It’s not dark, but overcast. Against this backdrop, I’m pulling an old school suitcase—1960’s, hard case, with four small wheels, and a leather side strap. It’s cumbersome and the weight of it is affecting my posture. My head is slightly bowed and my shoulders are somewhat slumped. I’m expressionless, but it’s clear that I’m tired. I’m fatigued. It’s evident that the suitcase is a burden, not just because of its heaviness, but because of how long I’ve been lugging it around.
The left side of the split screen is a direct contrast. It’s yellow, bright, and cheery. It’s serene. Against this backdrop, I’m standing freely, unencumbered by the suitcase in the adjacent picture. Unlike my usual giant smile, I have a content and confident smirk on my face. The yellow background illuminates my face and smirk. I feel weightless and uninhibited. There’s no mental chatter. There’s no distress. There’s nothing impeding the evident joy I’m experiencing.
In processing this vision with my therapist, I answered her question again, “If I believed in real life happy endings, I would be the fullest version of myself. I would be living into the fullness of who I was designed to be.”
I then cried for the remainder of the session.
The suitcase is clearly symbolic of what my roommate gave voice to. It represents emotional pounds that need to be shed.
The suitcase contains years, perhaps decades, of distrust, skepticism, disbelief, fear, betrayal, suspicion, the disappointment of failed relationships, and the guilt and frustration that comes with obligations which weren’t mine to bear. It holds all of my real life bad endings. Packed inside are all of the experiences which have marred me from fully living into God’s image, and which have disfigured God’s image in me.
Thankfully, God is in the business of rewriting stories. He’s the original author of happy endings. He’s the master of redemptive narratives.
In 2017, God is extending the invitation to lose the luggage. He’s inviting me to step into the left side of the split screen. He’s asking me to make room for happy endings. He’s beckoning me to embrace the fullness of who he’s created me to be.
The invitation's there. It's up to me to accept or decline.
*This post was inspired by Alexis Holladay. Thank you for your unexpected insight and for sharing your story.
**Image taken from https://www.etsy.com/c/vintage/bags-and-purses/luggage-and-travel