I should be a world-class champion packer after all these years. My family moved around a lot when I was young. Steve and I lived out of suitcases for nearly two years when we were first married, on our Northeast children’s theatre tour. For the past 30 years, we have moved our sizable household to the Delaware shore for two months. For the past 11 years, I have moved our youth mission teams to locations near and far (including copies of passports, medical cards, etc. etc.)
And every July, I need to pack for two separate experiences: mission trip and beach. It should be a piece of cake, right?
So why am I standing in my living room, paralyzed, as July 5th rolls around once again? My suitcase is still empty; our kitchen equipment remains in the cabinets and NOT in boxes. Haven’t made my mission trip photocopies of youth covenants and release forms yet. With my luck, I will open my luggage on location in Onancock, Virginia tomorrow, only to find my herb and spice collection, while my Rehoboth-bound belongings will include the mandatory Youthworks mission trip paperwork and not one single thing I need for my shore vacation.
I have a hard time with leave-takings of any kind. If I don’t adequately pack, maybe I don’t have to go. Deep down I know that isn’t true, know that, ready or not, there I’ll go—and it’s a heckuva lot better to be prepared for the journey ahead. But still I lollygag until zero hour. I daydream that my circumstances will suddenly change radically, and I will become free to remain exactly as I am. Unpacked.
Also, I am far too dependent on my Steve, packer extraordinaire. Most of the time he is around, willing and able to help me inflate my air mattress, cram a ridiculous amount of items into my small satchel. When I think of the horrible possibility of being without him for good someday, beyond the incredible emotional angst, I worry about my ability to cope in general. I am still, at age 57, pretty shaky at the prospect of navigating life on my own.
Whether I like it or not, it’s packing time. Time to embark on two entirely different summertime adventures. Both involve a lot of prep. Both require me to be much more organized than I naturally am, and call for me to take a giant step outside the comfort zone that is East Oreland. And this time I am also saying goodbye to my little Aiden for awhile, and I don't want him to change an iota, even as I know he is changing hourly.
So what should I pack this time? How about some courage? Some flexibility? Some humor? How about a little passion and a lot of compassion, along with the sunscreen and bug spray? How about faith, faith that all will be well this summer as it has been in summers past?
Off I go, then. Wish me luck?