As I send this out this evening I am sitting in a hotel room in New York City on the eve of leaving for a long, 21 day journey. The last few days have been full of last minute details and packing. The though occurred to me over the last few days about the stark difference the packing list is between whether or not you are taking children with you. On Tuesday I leave with a friend to travel to the Holy Land on a tour of Greece, Israel and Petra. I am sad that I will be leaving my family at home but am encouraged by all of our friends who have offered to help out if Theresa needs it. It is truly a miracle in how this trip came about…through the generosity of the friend I am traveling with, his wife and the answer to prayer that they both received and felt that I was supposed to accompany him as a travel companion on this trip in her absence.
I am excited about the trip. I really do not know what to expect but those who have gone have told me that I will never be the same and it is an incredible growing experience.
Back to the packing topic…I recall several years ago when we made a trip to California to attend a CHARGE Conference and spend a little time sight seeing…we nearly loaded down the plane. Just the things for Matthew was almost enough to fill our van. Feeding supplies, diapers, clothes, extra stomach buttons, DVD Player, DVD’s and books and other things to keep Matthew entertained on a plane for several hours, Matthew’s special car seat for the plane and for the rental car, wheelchair, Matthew’s NIKKEN magnetic mattress that he takes almost everywhere, puzzles and extra puzzle pieces…all just for Matthew. Then there was the luggage for two nearly teenagers (at the time) and two adults. I recall that a common theme from that trip was keeping track of the “stuff” we brought with us and shuffled from house to car, car to planes, planes to car, car to hotel rooms, etc.
My travel luggage for 21 days: one small carry-on size suitcase and one back-pack. Keeping it simple and traveling light is the key, I have been told.
The last statement has a great parallel to our personal lives as well. Extra baggage in our lives can really weigh us down and keep us from enjoying and easing the journey. It is the journey that gives life meaning and purpose.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy – St. Francis of Assisi
My prayer is that over the next 21 days I have a chance to un-pack some baggage. One doesn’t have to go all the way to the Holy Land to accomplish this task though. Our Heavenly Father is ready to assist anywhere at anytime.
Please pray for me and for the rest of the family over the next three weeks…I will be updating the blog when I have time and internet access.