My dad’s worn-out, black-leather satchel was stitched together like an accordion file. The more he put into it, the fatter it grew. Two large metal clasps whose tongues clicked in place inside their counterparts held the over laying flap in place on the front side of this behemoth black satchel.

After years and years, and even more years of hard use, not only did the handle break off, but one of the clasps wore out and refused to do its job anymore. It wouldn’t click closed. So, what did daddy do?

He found, from who knows where, some sort of industrial strength rubber band that he wound around the disabled, lopsided satchel. You can just imagine how long that lasted! He also wired the handle back on, but even that didn’t last.

Nevertheless, he refused to give up his precious black leather bag stuffed with papers to grade, lecture notes, and books in an assortment of languages. On any given day, you would see him speed walking up and down Lebanon’s hills of the seminary compound where we lived, his beloved, crippled satchel tucked under his arm and his other arm swinging mightily to propel his gait even faster! My father didn’t know the meaning of the word “strolling!”

I don’t know why this vignette came back to me so clearly. Yes, it made me chuckle and shake my head, but it also got me thinking. Isn’t this what we often do with our painful emotions or secrets?

We keep stuffing them down, believing there’s endless space. We treat our hearts like bottomless reservoirs until eventually, they can’t take the abuse anymore and we implode. Our damaged, broken, spirits limp along, disabled and fractured, unable to function.

It’s time to purge ourselves of the unnecessary burdens. Turn them over to your Almighty, “look for the helpers,” and give your over-worked heart a break!

Is it time to clean out your beat up satchel?

Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against one, forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:13

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