Back in the days when annual vacations were a thing, I made such a list of things to pack for my trip: passports, clothes, shoes, toiletries, hotel and flight information, etc. Let’s not even talk about the list of things to do while on vacation…not to mention the process to decide what to do while on vacation! This was a three-month process, beginning in February because, of course, I had to book flights and hotel before prices increased.
Now, life is much simpler: my trips happen once monthly (to the supermarket), my list of things to pack has dwindled (mask, keys, handbag and grocery list), and the duration of my trips is typically a few hours, rather than a few weeks.
Friends, that’s on the lighter side. Really though, in this environment, what are we packing for our journey? I don’t know about you, but I’ll tell you what I am packing:
- Direction: First up is direction or guidance. No journey, regardless of how simple or mundane it is can commence without direction and guidance. It is what shapes everything that follows. Even when I consider my erstwhile experiences of planning vacations, the first thing I needed to do was decide on a destination, and the most economical route. In a pandemic-constrained world, my next step is carefully decided upon. Sometimes, that next step takes weeks; sometimes it takes months. And, to determine the best move to make, it takes time. Determining direction requires patience, singleness of focus and isolation from distractions. If we focus on the cross above, direction and guidance are at the top of the cross.
- Protection and Defence: These are at the left and the right of me (so, the left and right arms of the cross above), keeping me properly hedged in, not straying outside of what’s intended for me. Today, our defences are our mask, hand sanitiser and the vaccine. In years gone by, it was adequate money to last the duration of the vacation, and maybe travel insurance. My defence in the simpler journey of life today is my mental, emotional and spiritual resilience. What are the thoughts that fill my mind? How do I embrace the current (no longer ‘new’) normal? Do I lament the good old days, or do I seek the opportunities in the precious present? Am I yearning for a lifting of the current constraints, or am I learning how resourceful I can be given my reality? Am I cherishing those near and dear to me, or am I just waiting to go out on the town again?
- The Load: Every journey involves a load and that is the reality-check of the journey. Assessing direction includes an evaluation of the load. We must evaluate what we can reasonably carry – this means shedding the unnecessary, and taking up the needful, whether it be at the beginning, or along the way. What am I carrying on my journey? What is my load? How am I managing my load? Do you remember when you could afford to be concerned about the weight of the suitcase? Some things made it; some things didn’t. And, continuing the analogy of the vacations of yore, we often started with a suitcase much lighter as we left for vacation than when we were set to return. On this new life journey, my load has surprised me, TBH. But in order to carry it, I’ve had to shed along the way. Returning to the cross, the load I place at the bottom of the illustration.
- Faith: Paving the road of my journey is faith, for I would be lost without it. Faith is what I’m believing for, what I’m hoping in, and that strengthens me for my journey – that sustains me on my journey. Faith keeps me heading in the direction in which I need to go. Faith keeps me sailing. As Christopher Cross sang, ‘Sailing, takes takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be’.
So, friends, I’ve told you what I’m packing for my journey…have you decided on what you’re packing?
It’s been a while since I last wrote…now you know why…I’ve been making my list and packing for my journey.
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