What’s in your backpack? by Sarah Reinhard


I had forgotten, in the years between toddlers, about the backpack.

It was an easy oversight. I had an infant who was keeping me busy and a preschooler who was active, to say the least. When the ever-present backpack stopped coming everywhere with us, I didn’t notice it.

Until it showed up again, that is.

It happened quietly enough. I was traveling out-of-state, with a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a fellow adult (not my husband) who needed some assistance. We had two major airports to conquer. The backpack seemed like a good idea.

And it was.

The problem, if you could call it a problem, is that the backpack, or “packpack,” as she calls it, has never left. It comes with us wherever we go, whether we take a vehicle or a wagon or simply step outside to the back yard. In it, you might find a favorite blankie (properly seasoned with dirt, spit, and smell), a herd of small horses, a baby doll, seven pink Legos, a few markers, and a coloring book. You might find, additionally, kitchen utensils, an old container of we-don’t-know-anymore, and an unmated sock.

My five-year-old just rediscovered her backpack on a recent trip. I can see the glint forming in her eyes, and I wonder if it means we will begin hauling everything precious and important with us to the dentist, the grocery, and the sandbox. I had only just convinced her that we are not, in fact, transient people, that the large white structure where we sleep, also known as a house, will keep her valuables safe and sound.

The truth is, I see a bit of myself in my girls. In their obsession with keeping their most important possessions always within reach, I see a reflection of my own need to have my phone and my iPod in my pockets at all times. I have to wonder what God thinks, seeing me lug my worries and my cares around, despite His promise to take care of me better than I can imagine.

What’s in that backpack I’m carrying around? What’s in the bag that I’m carting from place to place, thinking I have to bear its weight all on my own? What’s keeping me from letting go, from letting Him?

Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard


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