Sky Cap

Sometimes, an invention meant to bring comfort and ease to life can have unforeseen consequences. I remember reading a article on how the culture of the South had changed. Among the many influences, the author listed air-conditioning close to the top of the list. He stated that in former times, people would sit on the porch and greet neighbors as they passed by. Now, everyone had moved indoors to his or her private air-conditioned entertainment centers. They now drove to work alone in their air-conditioned cars to sit alone at their desks in air-conditioned cubicles.

Technology can do more than make life easier. It can also impact the way that we think about ourselves and relate to others. I got to thinking about this because I noticed how another invention was having an impact.

Anyone who travels on airplanes appreciates having luggage with wheels. I can remember the old days of hauling luggage through an airport without wheels. What a drag it was. Of course, the airport had Sky Caps, men who for a fee would take your luggage at the curb and see that it was checked to your plane. I rarely used them because I was too tight to give them five dollars for their efforts.

Now, because of the convenience of wheeled luggage, there are few Sky Caps left. Those that remain seem to stand around waiting for work. You can spot them around the baggage claim. They often wear colored caps and hold an empty luggage cart.

I’ve never learned the lesson that you should travel light, so when I became older, I used a Sky Cap once or twice. It certainly was a pleasure to hand that heavy luggage over to them. I felt light on my feet and travel seemed less of a chore. I could go get a diet coke and check out the magazines and relax until boarding time.

Spiritually speaking, I never learned to travel light. I carry a lot of emotional baggage. It’s a heavy load but over the years, I learned to put wheels on it. Even so, there are times when I wonder if my strength will give out. Do I really have to carry this stuff until I die?

Photini was just like me. She carried a lot of baggage to the well that day. One big weight was her inability to have a successful relationship. She had been through five marriages and now was, as we say in the south, “shacking up.” Apparently, this resulted in another burden: she had no friends. She came to well at the sixth hour. That wasnt the time when all of the other women of the village would come to get water. Photini was shunned and so she came when the other women wouldn’t be there. Being a Samaritan, she was shunned by the Jews as unclean. Soon she would learn that she carried the burden of some bad theology.

Photini found it impossible to travel light. She needed someone to take her baggage. What she needed was a Sky Cap. She went to the well that day and met one who took away all of her baggage. From that day forward, she traveled light and free. In fact, freed from her baggage, she became such an evangelist for Christ that the Church called her “Equal to the Apostles.”

Though I am weary of my baggage, I refuse to give it to the Sky Cap. I’d rather put wheels on it and continue to carry it myself. Because of this, I may never be an effective Orthodox Christian. Certainly, I will never be called “equal to the Apostles.” It isn’t a matter of unworthiness. To be an Apostle, you have to be able to travel light. I’m too weighed down for that.

The Lord said once, “Cast your cares and burdens on me”. He wants my baggage so that I can travel light and free. And if I do, then I too can become a Sky Cap. Without my own baggage, I can carry the burdens of others. St. Paul said that if I do this, I will “fulfill the law of Christ.”

The Sky Cap stands and waits patiently for me to give him all of my baggage. It must make him sad to see me struggle so. I can continue to travel weary and heavy-laden, or I can travel light and free.

So, the Sky Cap asks, “May I check you luggage?”

Its my choice.

One Response to “Sky Cap”

  1. Madeleine Newman Says:

    What a facinating blog. I’ve bookmarked it and added your feed to my RSS Reader

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