My husband thinks I’m the craziest woman in the world. Most of the time I’d argue with him about that, but after getting ready for an overnight trip to visit my kids, even I’d have to agree with him.
It began simply enough. I laid out the clothes I would wear for the car trip. Then I laid out the clothes I would need for the next day.
It all went downhill from there.
The weather was going to be a mixture of hot and cold, so I would need several sets of clothes to account for the possible weather conditions. I packed jeans, sweat pants, sweat shirts, short-sleeve shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, shorts, tennis shoes, boots, clogs, and bedroom slippers. Of course there were the night clothes—a warm flannel if it was cold, and a short set if it was hot.
I would definitely have to take my conglomeration of hair products, since hot weather would dictate one hairstyle and cold weather another. Out came the combs, straight iron, blow dryer, the diffuser, conditioning spray, shampoo and conditioner, hairspray, clips, ponytail holders, brushes, and various sundries.
This filled the first two travel bags.
Then there was soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, makeup, makeup remover, contact lenses, contact lens travel kit, glasses, sunglasses, night cream, day cream, deodorant, talcum powder, body cream, hand cream, cologne, and various other sundries.
I crammed all that stuff into one tote.
I would need my alarm clock, and a book to fall asleep with. I didn’t know at 8:00 this morning what I would want to read at 10:00 tonight, so I packed three books, not including my Bible and study materials.
Of course, I might have an inspirational creative moment, so I included a notebook and three pens. But, I might want to write it on the computer or surf the net, so I grabbed my laptop out of the closet and put it in the pile as well. I went into my office and grabbed the hard copy for my novel draft, in case inspiration came from that quarter.
I had enough stuff for two more totes, not including the laptop.
And then there was the poodle. I had to pack her food and water bowls, her food, her brush, her leash, and shampoo for whatever escapade she might wander into.
The poodle got her own carry bag.
There were also the care packages I was taking to the kids, as well as a few pieces of furniture they said they wanted to have.
My husband just stood there as I made a running start and ran into the tailgate of the Explorer, trying to get it to shut.
“How many days are you going to be gone?” he asked, his eyebrows meeting in one long, black, scrunched-up caterpillar in the middle of his forehead.
“Just overnight,” I oomphed, as I ran into the tailgate again. I fell back and landed on my rump. Dusting my backside off, I scowled at the Explorer.
“Quit,” he said, before I could make a third collision into the car. “You’ve done more brain damage than you can handle.” He shoved everything back and quickly slammed the gate. I stood there glaring at him, my hands on my hips.
“You could have done that to start with.”
“I wanted to see how many times you’d crash into the car before you knocked yourself out. What can I say? I’m a softie. I couldn’t stand it anymore.”
I stuck my tongue out at him as he went into the house.
It’s interesting how our spiritual lives parallel our earthly ones. That night, as I lay in bed in the kids’ guestroom, I grabbed my Bible, pushing aside the other three books I had brought with me. I was reading in Mark, and I came to the end of chapter eleven.
I had to smile at God’s sense of humor.
Come to me, all you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mark 11:28-30)
I thought about my car, packed to the gills for an overnight trip, and chuckled. Yeah, I was going to have to learn to “lighten my burden” if I was going to make regular trips to visit the kids.
But what about all the emotional baggage you carry, I heard that still, small Voice ask. That gave me pause. I won’t go through the list here, but I had to consider the ensuing issues I struggled with that resulted from all that emotional junk I had to acknowledge was packed away in quite a few nooks and crannies of my heart. Hurts, anger, resentments—all these and more were very carefully boxed up and hauled around day after day. Most of the time I never took them out, but I had them ready just in case. And I couldn’t forget about the bag of excuses, the one that held all the reasons and justifications for why I acted and reacted the way I did.
It’s amazing I could even waddle down the narrow path.
It was a sobering moment. I felt kind of stinky before God. There wasn’t anything in my arsenal to fight Satan. I hadn’t clothed myself in any of the armor Paul speaks of in Ephesians. The only weapons I had aided and abetted the enemy. I wanted to ask myself whose side I was on, but didn’t have the courage.
But I knew.
I’m so thankful for the love and forgiveness our Father shows us, each and every day. I’m also thankful that he’s not the kind of God who overlooks things. I don’t know if I’ll ever get completely out of the habit of packing everything but the kitchen sink for a trip, but I am learning to lighten my spiritual load.
And the armor I’m clothing myself in doesn’t weigh a fraction of what all that baggage did.