I do a bit of travel for work on various projects for companies where one week I might find myself in sunny California and the next might take me to the nation’s capital. I might be dining on some Chicago Style pie from Giordano’s one evening and the following week be standing in front of the Bellagio recording their fabulous Ocean’s 11 Water Show.
It has its perks for certain, but there are many things which life on the road does not always seem to deliver what the marketing promises. Bedding, for instance, does not always live up to the pictures you see online. My wife and I both view bedding as an investment in us — our energy, our time of rest and recuperation. It is a few quiet moments to reflect on the day behind us and prepare for what lies ahead. We may not rest upon 1,000-thread Egyptian cotton, but our sheets are soft, slick and wrap around an extremely comfortable mattress with even support and relieves pressure in such a manner to soothe conversation as we both begin to count sheep.
I quickly lose count of the sheep as the Sandman arrives on white fluffy clouds waxing poetic about the beauty of dreams and before I know it, morning has arrived.
On the road, however, that is not typically the case. The bed is not always as comfortable nor the sheets as soft and most often the pillow is not quite right. It is not merely a matter of familiarity as your tired bones casually fall into the same indentations as the night before and the feathers and down simply conform once again to the curvatures of your neck and vertebra. But in those instances the Sandman must apparently be in a different time zone and has neglected to adjust his black leather wrist chronograph Breitling for the variance in schedule.
I then wind up in a state of insomnia, which for we OCD folk can be monotonous as the sheep count fades into numbering ceiling tiles and estimating the distances between, taking into calculations the tile bridges and room size while other hotel rooms or AirBNB will have me counting the crystals on the chandelier or attempting to measure the speed of the ceiling fan while detailing the number of times you will receive not one, but two for the price of one gadgets on the latest version of the amazing pitchmen featured on the Home Shopping Network. These are trying evenings indeed away from which almost no one escapes once in its tiresome clutches, mocking your every attempt to sleep while channel surfing with a remote that barely works and one must ask, “what would be the point of scouring the net for an app to bypass the remote to better control the wall-mounted picture box when the initial idea was to gain some rest?”
Another perk of which I believe I failed to mention earlier, is that I don’t have to carry all my luggage. I am confident that you are already aware of the fact that you can check your hand-stitched Luis Vuitton, Swanson or Samsonite with the airline and they will carry it for you to your destination. And of course the more luggage I have the more alluring the idea to allow someone else to carry the burden for me. I generally carry three bags; a black messenger bag covered in Air Force patches given to me more than 18 years ago by my brother who served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years and many of which were over seas. This holds my daily carry as well as my MacBook, iPad, and chargers and a padfolio for quick note-taking. A roller bag holds roughly one-week’s worth of clothing and essentials while my last bag, which is substantially larger and heavier holds tools and materials needed for the project needing to be completed that week.
While the two larger bags are on rollers you can probably imagine that carrying my messenger bag with style and then some and rolling two larger bags through an airport filled with masked strangers wanting autographs and speaking with my agent on the cell can be a tad en-cumbersome. I might have infringed on that last part; they are not all masked, but it does begin to weigh on you regardless of your weight class or how much you need the exercise. At times, you just want a breather, a break, a moment where you are carrying nothing and you sit back in a white wooden-rocker underneath the skyline windows lining the sunny side of the North Carolina airport and snack on some Auntie Anne’s pretzels
I miss the slight hum of the air conditioning with the overhead fan in our bedroom on low, the crickets in the background outside our window and my wife at my side. I miss the support of our mattress, the slickness of the sheets, and the deep of my pillow. And with the mounting weight of the world in the news these past few months, the luggage from one city to the next, one can easily find themselves weary of the day and longing all the more for peaceful rest.
My faith teaches me that I needn’t carry my luggage, but instead I am welcome and even invited to leave the luggage, weight unlimited, and the worries of the day with my Lord and savior and I will regain my rest like the comfort of the familiar and the sanctuary with my bride. In these last few months it seems the weight has gotten heavier, the baggage insurmountably higher, and the road has become darker and more challenging to find let alone maneuver.
Perhaps it is just me but many more of the people with whom I interact seem heavy laden with the worries of the day, and tired. Their minds are acceleratingly flustered with the added weight of more work with less people and their groove is constantly interrupted by the new and recurring restrictions of what we used to know as free movement, however our common way of life has been abruptly halted with irregular hours, restricted zones and job loss. The message of permitting another to carry our luggage so that we can recoup from the day, re-energize, and get some rest, where we can think lighter, act better and laugh a little is something which many should hear.
We needn’t carry the luggage to which we so desperately cling either for the purposes of identity for that is all we have known all along and that we no longer recognize ourselves without it. Besides, who are we without the pain? Do we no longer trust anyone to hold onto our luggage for us? What if they lose it? Or misplace it? Or damage it? We have some very important things in that luggage; maybe you just bought that handcrafted leather dopp kit. That tie was probably a Father’s Day gift from many years ago and a fair amount of memories are tied into that. And what if it gets lost? Whatever shall we do if it is not there waiting for us on the other side? What happens if we see everyone else grab their luggage and we are there still peering around the conveyor belt squinting and wondering what must have happened to a couple of pieces of luggage that we were promised would be here?
I think in such cases one should ask, would that be so bad? We would then be carrying less weight; less weight in our hands and on our shoulders. It is impossible for me to grab unto something new while I am still holding unto weight from the past. Speaking for myself, I get tired of carrying the weight both at the airport and in life. I need not worry knowing that it is in good hands and will be handled appropriately, but then again, that’s just my humble opinion