Packing seems to make a trip come alive for me. Does this happen to you? It starts with all the questions that surface minutes after bringing the suitcase up from the basement (at least, in my case). Questions like, What clothing do I need? Do I have everything I need? Am I carrying too much? What if I need ________ (you fill in the blank)? Where’s my ticket? And ID? What’s going to happen? Will I be safe? Who will I meet? What will I learn?
I’ve been packing - more or less - for the last couple of days and the recent news that temperatures in Thomassin, in the southern highlands of Haiti where we will be located, is experiencing very cool temperatures. So, now I need to repack a bit to make room for some warmer clothing. I was hoping for really hot weather. We’re experiencing single digit temps here in Western NY!
But this has set me to thinking that life always seems to be about accommodations, adjusting to new situations (or temperatures!), reevaluating what is really necessary and what is needful in the moment. At least for me, trips have a way of confronting me with the perennial question of how much do I really need as distinct from what I just want. And that’s happening now as I’m minutes away from zipping my carryon piece. What can I take out of my suitcase so I can travel more lightly, more freely? Can I let go of my need to be ready for every occasion and all “the just in case” mentality? When I unzip my suitcase tomorrow evening at the guest house, I’ll find a sweatshirt. But more importantly, will I find my heart and mind open and spacious enough to receive the unexpected surprises that always come when we take ourselves lightly?