I laughed along at a radio commentary today stating that on the average women pack eight pair of shoes for a week-long trip. I then complimented myself for only packing four, plus of course the shoes I was currently wearing. Throwing some shirts, jeans, a dress, and all of the miscellaneous necessities (books of course included), into my luggage; bags were hauled out to the car for a trip to visit my very ill grandfather. Very ill, dangerously ill – the miles between home in Iowa and my family home/ grandparents’ home in Ohio stretch out much further than the miles marked off on the highway.
What happens upon arrival is that all of these bags have to be carried in. Knees unbend from their cramped space in the car, arms stretch up to their full range of motion overhead and then sweep down to grab the bags and take them to their designated areas. Wait a minute, did someone stuff bricks in here? I don’t remember this being this heavy when I left. The longer I carry the bag, the heavier it seems to get. Could it be carrying its own gravitational pull? Surely, the bulging seams and strained zipper are not signs of too much in the bag, the bag must have just gotten smaller. Right?
The what if worries are taking their toll this week as we search out information and try to mentally walk through every contingency plan. The thing about the what ifs are that they are disruptive to carry around, and do not add a lot of substantive value. Luke 12:27 states: “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
I know I am not alone in this bonanza of over packing preparedness. As the packing process is going on, the what-ifs very punctually show up and start asking questions. What if your feet are cold, maybe one extra pair of socks of the thicker variety would be good to have. What if you need to have mucky tennis shoes, shouldn’t you just toss them in? What ifs quickly move into the bags, shouldering out justifiable items.
I am a kitchen sink packer. Friends can confirm it. But hey – the weather might swing 50 degrees and then who will be toasty in her parka or nice and cool in her sundress? Someone else might forget something, I’ll pack that too – just in case I will be prepared. In my own defense, I didn’t bring a jacket, hat or gloves on this particular trip. It is nearly June and that might be overkill. Maybe…
I pack my bag trying to think of contingencies. I might need this sweatshirt – toss it in. Extra socks? Sure, those are always good to have around. Lotion, mascara, and of course the various chargers and computers and such. Water bottles and snacks for the road are loaded in the car and we set off. The trunk is full and my feet are cramped for space. Considering my normal packing habits, I thought that this was pretty good.
Sounds pretty easy – right? No? The thing is, I have to choose to leave the what if and to pack the prayer instead. I have to choose to dismiss the what if and instead pick up thanksgiving. I have to put down my way and pick up trust in the sovereignty of God. The kitchen sink is still packed, but it is from a different kitchen. This one doesn’t strain my bag with bulkiness and is lighter to carry. Put down those what ifs and pick up thankfulness, prayer, and supplication.