Journeys: Impedimenta

Impedimenta is the Latin word that means “luggage.” Impedimentum means that which entangles or hinders the feet, and the plural form impedimenta comes to mean luggage, or baggage.   It’s the stuff one travels with.

If you’ve made a trip with more than a small piece of luggage, you know how easily the luggage we carry on a trip can be both very necessary and such a hindrance to our enjoyment of the journey.  The stuff we travel with today, in our lives, can be really necessary.  It can also obstruct meaning and joy in life, and we have to decide which it is for us.

What are you walking around with today?  It might be a life long thing that has traveled with you whether you like it or not.  It might be a less permanent condition or set of circumstances.  The attitudes, beliefs and views of life and the world that we walk around with may be truly helpful to us.  They may also be short-sighted or even hinder us.  Once, while helping one of our children fill out a college application for scholarships, aid and loans, it became apparent that our family income was such that he wouldn’t qualify for a particular scholarship/aid program.  “According to this, I’d have to be homeless to qualify.”

Well, there’s something to consider.  You are walking around with a home and family that can provide for all the stuff necessary for safety and well-being.  You won’t get the scholarship/aid package.  You could be homeless, but you are not.  Now, where’s the blessing?  Where’s the problem?  We still had to figure out how to pay tuition that semester.

Every human being travels today with impedimenta, physical baggage, emotional and mental baggage, baggage made up of relationships.  We may take time to ponder it, to look over what we are planning to travel with today and ask: is this helping me?  Will I need this?  Can I do without that?  Is this really more of a burden than it’s worth?  When can I afford to stop traveling with this?  This life is our journey.  In many regards we do get to choose what we travel with.  About some things, we may have no choice–except to decide how we will travel with that thing.  About some others, the decision to leave something behind is all ours and can be most liberating.

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