What do batteries, electric lights, electric power, phonographs and sound recording, cement, motion pictures, and the pneumatic stencil pen (an ancestor to the modern tattoo gun) all have in common?

They were invented by Thomas Edison.

To say he was a true genius is an understatement. Biographers concluded that with all the patents attributed to him, (1,093  in the United States and more than 1,200 globally), he was responsible for the creation of a patent every two weeks.

Born in 1847, he obtained his first patent at the age of 21 (1868). The last patent in his name was granted two years after his death, in 1933.


No doubt we’ve all heard of Edison. (And you might be wondering why you are receiving a bit of a history lesson).

There is something else really remarkable about him, beyond his incredible creations.

In 1914, a massive fire raged through Edison’s lab complex in downtown West Orange, New Jersey.

Chemical-fueled flames shot 100 feet in the sky, burning five city blocks and destroying almost his entire operation.

Can you imagine? Losing 46 years of your work?

How would you move forward from a tragedy such as that???

 I’m afraid that would leave me defeated, bitter, and without a sense of hope. Certainly, I’d walk away from that situation carrying a LOT of baggage!

Not Edison . . . Let’s ponder his words!

“We’ve got to love what we do and all that it entails, good and bad. We have to learn to find joy in every single thing that happens. Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start again fresh.”

After thoroughly surveying the damage, Edison determined that he’d lost $919,788 (about $23 million in today’s dollars), according to Matthew Josephson’s biography.

Yet, he saw it as an opportunity, not devastation. He refused to allow it to become baggage.

As people of faith, we get to choose whether we go through life with tons of baggage or if we discard the baggage and focus on not just finding but creating moments and opportunities of joy, contentment, and hope.

Over the next 12 weeks, we are going to explore how to let go of our baggage and pick up some luggage that will carry us into the future. We will work on creating our own defining moments.

What baggage do you need to let go of today?