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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Going through customs on the way to healing
By janet rubin
08/21/05


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My suitcase was bulging, my arms exhausted. An official greeted me when my turn came.
“Where do you wish to travel today?”
I quickly replied, “Healing, Sir!”
“Reason for your visit?”
“Are you kidding? Look at me! I’m miserable. I need healing!”
Glancing first at my suitcase and then his clipboard, he asked, “You are aware of the layover in Repentance?”
“A layover? How long?”
“I can’t tell you that,” the official answered.
“What do you mean? Surely you can give me some idea! An hour? Two hours?”
“Could be five minutes, could be 5 days or even five months… that’s up to you.”
“Look I really need to get to Healing. Isn’t there a flight straight through?”
He shrugged. “Sorry, the only way to Healing is by way of Repentance. All I can tell you is that the sooner you get to Repentance, the sooner you’ll get to Healing. Look, why don’t you let me finish my questions so you can get moving.”
I nodded in agreement.
“Alright then,” he said, “Is this your suitcase?”
“Yes.”
“You haven’t let anyone borrow it?”
“No.”
He checked off something on his clipboard. “What about the contents?”
“What do you mean?”
“The stuff in the suitcase. Is it yours?”
“Yes,” I began, “well, no… I mean some of it …”
“Why don’t we just take a look,” he said, hauling the bag up onto a counter.
In a moment my suitcase laid open, the contents exposed. Embarrassed, I looked down. The official reached in and held up the first thing he saw. “You have some bitterness here. Yours?”
“I’m only bitter because of what people have done to me. It isn’t my fault,” I explained.
He looked at me skeptically and pulled something else out of the bag. “What about this self pity?”
“If I feel badly for myself, it’s because I’ve been wronged!”
Sighing, the official glanced over the other items in my bag. “O.K., you have a lot of things in here lady. The deal is that you are not allowed to go through here with anything that doesn’t belong to you. I’ll level with you. I think these things DO belong to you, but if you don’t want to admit it, you won’t be heading to Repentance today.
“Wait!” I said, digging up some things from the bottom, “these are mine!”
The official grimaced. “A promise to teach Sunday school? Some good intentions? You didn’t need to pack these. What’s that in the pocket?”
“Nothing,” I lied.
Extracting something, he said, “You can’t bring this!”
Sheepishly, I mumbled, “It’s only a souvenir.”
“The trip you went on to get that souvenir is the reason you need healing! Maybe you should sit down and decide if you’re ready to come back.”
I trudged away, irritated.


Nearby, I noticed a swiftly moving line. Lugging my suitcase, I went to check it out. Closer, I could see that everyone in this line looked sad and wore torn clothing. None of them carried bags. At the front, a man stood talking to the official. His head hung down, words aimed at the floor. I strained to hear.
”I don’t deserve to go back,” he was saying. “I really screwed up. Maybe I could just volunteer here, pick up the garbage or something, and sleep on a bench…”
“No,” the official interrupted, “He’s waiting for you. Through those doors is the private jet. Go on now. You’ll be heading straight to Healing.”

Suddenly angry, I yelled, “Hey! Why doesn’t he have to do the layover in Repentance? That’s not fair!”
The official came to me and put a hand on my shoulder. “Janet, you could be in this line. These people came repentant. They brought nothing but a desire to leave their sins and be servants of the Lord. They know they have nothing to offer. They’ll be flying first class and the Lord Himself will be ministering to them immediately. Is there anything in that suitcase of yours that compares to that?”
My eyes looked to the door, behind it the jet and my Lord- so close. I longed to be with Him. Suddenly it became clear that it was the things in that suitcase that were causing the delay. My excuses, the blame, and the sins I wanted to hold onto- they were mine.
“Lord, have mercy on me,” I said softly. At once, my bag was gone and my Lord came running through the door to greet me.


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This article has been read 844 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/22/05
Masterful allegory! Well-written and thought out. It would be better still with spacing between all the paragraphs.
Lisa McMillion08/24/05
Very involving. I think I'll probably remember this at every airport. An achievement!
Theresa Kissinger08/27/05
This was well written especially with the dialogue. {I'm envious} Good conclusion, well done.
Beth Muehlhausen08/27/05
Liked your emphasis: repentance. It is so easy to focus on the end result, healing! Thank you for this perspective. I agree that it would be helpful to double space between paragraphs (and dialogue entries).
darlene hight08/28/05
Very creative!
Deborah Porter 10/16/05
Hi Janet. I'm just preparing the new FaithWriters' Anthology and need a short (two to three sentences) bio piece to include in a new section for the book - "Meet Our Authors." The bio notes need to be written in the third person. Could you please send it to me via a Private Message? Thanks so much. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)