NARRATOR: I never thought my life would turn out this way.
BAG LADY enters loaded down with lots of luggage or heavy bags in her hands. Bags should be labeled clearly with Pain, Bitterness, Shame, Worry, Fear, etc.
NARRATOR: Yeah, that was me over there. A regular ole bag lady. No, not the kind you see on the streets of Chicago, but a bag lady nonetheless. Thankfully though, I managed to take care of myself. I mean look at me. I still dressed nice, I showered once or twice a day, plus I’d even managed to keep all my teeth. But as you can see, somehow over the years I had collected all kinds of baggage, and I kept it with me all the time.
Baggage. That’s what it was. No, I didn’t get it all at one time. I just somehow managed to collect it over the years, and couldn’t seem to get rid of it.
Let’s see, I think I got my first bag in my early teens. Yeah, that’s right! It was at school when my art teacher laughed at my sculpture in front of the WHOLE CLASS! I had been trying to make a self uh.. sculpture. You know… a sculpture of me! When it was done, Mrs. Hodges wondered what had made me decide to make a monkey figurine. I dropped my head to try to hide my red face, as I sheepishly admitted that it was supposed to be me. The whole class burst out laughing, and from that day on I was known as Miss Monkey by everyone at Middleton High.
Such humiliation! So, I packed that memory in a bag, and kept it with me for a very long time.
After that, I became an obsessive bag collector. There was the shame bag that I got in my late teens when I got pregnant. My boyfriend decided he didn’t want to carry a shame bag around with me, so he hightailed it out of my life.
BAG LADY: (has reached center stage and begins sifting through bags, as if to treasure the items inside)
NARRATOR: Then there was the worry bag that comes to every woman when she becomes a mother. Worry, worry, worry! That was definitely one of my bigger bags. I loved to open that one up all the time – day or night. I’d just sit and rummage through that bag, considering all the things I had in there to worry about.
I had so many bags in my collection. There was fear – that was a big one too! Then of course the bitterness and unforgiveness bags – who wouldn’t want those with a loser boyfriend like I had had.
And if you think it’s easy to go through life carrying all this baggage, well, then you just come up here and try it.
It’s not that I wanted to keep living like that, I just couldn’t find a way to get rid of any of it. Finally, I began to try to get help. I meekly – and, yes, rather awkwardly - walked up to a woman I knew from my church.
BAG LADY: Will you please help me?
NARRATOR: With shame written all over my face, I told her how terrible I felt about my past. She sat there listening to my story, then reaching past my baggage, she patted me on the arm and said.
CHURCH LADY: (Holds a HUGE Bible on her lap and is very pious) Now, now, honey, you know what Romans 8:28 says, All things work together for good! So, don’t let this make you bitter.” (pause... then with emphasis) Let it make you better!
NARRATOR: With that she stood up and sashayed right out the door. I sat there in shock. “That’s it!?” I asked in surprise. “She can just sashay right out of my life!”
BAG LADY: (Standing to collect her baggage she mutters with plenty of sarcasm) Don’t let it make you bitter, let it make you better. (Slowly struggles to meet with Aunt Susie.)
NARRATOR: But, not one to lose hope too quickly, I went to see my dear Aunt Susie. After dragging all that baggage to her house, I was more ready than ever to lay my burdens down, and this time I spoke up a bit louder.
BAG LADY: (Knocks on Aunts door) Could you please help me?
NARRATOR: Aunt Susie began to cry as she listened to my story.
AUNT SUSIE: (begins to sob rather dramatically)
NARRATOR: I basked in her sympathy, anticipating the moment when she would show me where to put all my baggage. But like the lady from church, Aunt Susie gave me a hug and then gathered up her pile of crumpled kleenex and said.
AUNT SUSIE: (no longer crying, but still wiping her eyes and an occasional hiccup) Now, now, honey, you know what Romans 8:28 says, All things work together for good! So, don’t let this make you bitter (pause for effect) let it make you better! (closes door)
NARRATOR: I was stunned. What was this? I wondered as I drug my weary body down the street. I didn’t want to hear all these little clichés! I wanted…
BAG LADY: HELP!
NARRATOR: Yes, help! I had had enough.
(BAG LADY falls into a heap)
NARRATOR: So there I sat. Just crying and yelling for…
BAG LADY: HELP! HELP! Can’t somebody HELP me?
NARRATOR: Suddenly, a woman I had never met came up behind me. She reached down and tapped me on the shoulder.
BAG LADY: Ahhh! Oh, you scared me!
WOMAN: What’s the matter, dear?
BAG LADY: (sobbing)I… don’t want…this…BAGGAGE (voice gets louder and louder)
NARRATOR: She tried to give me a hug, but the baggage seemed to be getting in the way.
WOMAN: There, there now. I have something I want to tell you.
BAG LADY: I know, I know. All things work togeth…
WOMAN: (interrupting) Ah…ah..
BAG LADY: Don’t let it make you bitter, let it….
WOMAN: No! That’s not it either.
BAG LADY: Well, what else is there to say?
NARRATOR: She told me that she had a Friend who wanted to take away my Worry and Fear bags, not to mention the Shame and Bitterness that I was carrying around too. In fact, if I went to Him and asked Him, He would be willing to take all these bags, so I wouldn’t be burdened down with them anymore. It all sounded too good to be true, but still I let the woman took me to her friend, whose name was Jesus.
WOMAN: (gestures heavenward, then quietly slips off stage.)
NARRATOR: I slowly began to give Jesus all my baggage, and when I had rid myself of all that was weighing me down, I had never felt so wonderful in all my life.
As I started to walk away, I remembered something that I always kept in my Fear bag. “Oh,” I thought, “I’m gonna need that!” So I went back and reclaimed the Fear baggage. Turning once more to walk away, I hesitated.
“The Shame bag,” I said to Jesus, “I… I do want to keep that one. I’ve had it so long… I… I just can’t imagine life without it.”
It wasn’t long until I had talked myself into keeping all my baggage. Once again I was weighed down so much I could hardly walk. Jesus looked so sad when He saw how I was struggling.
Then He told me a secret that made all the difference in the world for me.
“There is a connection between war and worship - bondage and praise,” He said. “Do you remember the story of Moses, and how he had to keep his hands raised so the Israelites could win their battle? To be free from all your baggage, you must raise your hands up, too. Go ahead” Jesus invited. “Raise your hands. Lift them up.”
I looked at Him in surprise. Did He think I could lift my hands up while clutching all these bags? I tried. Oh, how I tried, but the weight was too great. Then the bags began to slip from my hands and soon I had my hands raised high – free from all my burdensome baggage.
“See?” Jesus said. “As long as you are focused on earthly things – you will be tempted to carry these bags, but if you keep your eyes on me – keep your hands lifted up in praise – you will find it impossible to keep carrying all that baggage around.
He was right, and now I am free of the baggage. No more shame. No more worry. The bitterness, anger and pain are all gone. Jesus keeps all that baggage, and as long as I keep praising Him – keep focusing on Him, I’m not even tempted to get my baggage back.
BAG LADY: I guess those ladies were right. All things do work together for good.