"Bring out your luggage, like you're packing to go into exile…… “ from Ezekiel 12:4(ISV)
“We’re only going to be gone two weeks.”
Once in a while, words come out of my mouth before any survival reflexes can kick in. My simple observation above resulted in “the look”. Apparently I just don’t understand why Yesenia needs everything she is packing for our trip.
“Just kidding!” I whimpered and went back to zipping up my single carry on. Fortunately, God has created what is one of the biggest wonders of life. Of course I am talking about how women can mysteriously pack five times as many clothes in the same space as a guy. I believe God did this to allow them to fit all the styling equipment, makeup, jewelry and extra shoes and bags they apparently need.
It’s not that I am that great a packer. Until recently, seeking out laundry services on a vacation never crossed my mind. So a two-week trip required two-weeks-plus-emergencies worth of undies and socks and enough variables on the wardrobe to cover any activity in any weather. This resulted in some really heavy suitcases and some truly unpleasant moments for TSA personnel peeking in on the return trip.
My last job required that I travel at a moment’s notice. I eventually got everything down to one small overnight bag, but no matter how efficient and ready I tried to be, I always forgot something. When I moved to Guatemala, the NJ thrift shop received 6 “disposable” Wal-Mart belts I had accumulated on the way to important meetings. They also got ties and cheap shoes.
I’m still not that good at the packing technique, either. When I book a hotel room, I always check whether an iron is available; because no matter what I do, every shirt is wrinkled when I pull it out of my bag. Once, I decided to sneak McDonalds into a very nice Chicago hotel (because I hate going out once I check in and I never liked ordering room service.) So I jammed the french fries container into what I thought was a side compartment of my suitcase. The next morning, I had to procure a new shirt and tie. But at least I didn’t have to iron it!
Packing is definitely an art. I really don’t know how Yesenia does it. There is a mountain of clothes and stuff piled across a queen-sized bed that will somehow emerge from a single suitcase tomorrow, wrinkle-free and unbroken. It is like a little miracle every time we travel. And invariably, I will forget something basic that Yesenia will immediately produce for me with a satisfied grin. It is uncanny.
Missions season is coming upon us, and I hope that a lot of you will be packing soon as you prepare to head down here. I am sure a few of you will bring both a curling iron AND hair straightener for the one night we dress up. Someone will show up for the church service in a nice dress with sneakers because they forgot their “church shoes”. A couple of people will make fashion statements with large trash bags subbing for the rain ponchos left home. And of course someone is going to have to share clothes with the guy whose suitcase is in Panama.
With luck, no zippers will pop open and no pockets will tear during TSA searches. It would be a blessing if all of your PDAs and cell phones made it off the planes with you and if you don’t have to find a copy machine to run off enough clinic sheets to replace the ones sitting on your kitchen table.
Things like these happen at times. It’s what makes trips and missions an adventure. And none of it matters as long as we remember to bring our faith. With Faith, we will distribute much hope and love and salvation this year. Without it, we might as well hang just around the luggage claim.
And don’t worry if you forget any of that other stuff. We got Wal-Marts, too! That reminds me, I have to go pack a belt.
Happy Travels! Hope to see you all in the months ahead!