When I was a young girl, my friends and I played a memory game called “I’m Going on a Trip.” It started with the first person saying, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m going to take ... ” – and she would name something she would put in her suitcase. The next person repeated that statement and added another item to put in the suitcase. The third person added yet another item, and so on, until the list of items to remember became very long and, inevitably, silly.
One evening, while packing suitcases for upcoming travel, I began to fret over what I needed to bring with me. The trip was a combination of business and vacation, and my list of items to pack was simply too long. Finally, the thought came to me, what did Jesus pack? It was an interesting thought. Jesus did a lot of traveling, and he attended a lot of different functions while traveling, from a wedding, to a picnic of loaves and fish, to teaching in synagogues and speaking engagements. Yet I find no place in the Bible where it describes him bringing any baggage filled with various outfits and accessories. I reconsidered the extra pair of sandals I’d packed and thought about what I really needed to make my trip enjoyable, fulfilling, and purposeful.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 4). If each of us were to bring a “mental suitcase” filled with patience, meekness, love, and good deeds on every trip we take, whether for a quick getaway or months of far-flung adventure, not only would we benefit from the contents of that suitcase, but everyone we encounter would feel the effect of that God-given grace as well.
I realized these four “travel items” – patience, meekness, love, good deeds – can easily fit into a carry-on bag and be with me at all times.
• We can draw on patience when faced with travel delays, schedule changes, security screenings, or crowded airports and train stations.
• We can show meekness – which was once described to me as “slowness to anger” and “unpretentiousness” – to those at the airports, car rental stations, or on the road driving in the lane next to us.
• We can express love in kindness, thoughtfulness, and gentleness to all we come in contact with in our travels.
• And if we’re alert, opportunities to do good deeds are bountiful – from helping a fellow traveler with unwieldy luggage to allowing someone who is running late to jump the line.
Today when I’m preparing to travel, I always pack a mental suitcase first, and then work on the luggage that contains the toothbrush, clothes, and shoes. I’ve found that a mental suitcase filled with grace not only makes my travel more carefree, but it can never be lost, stolen, or damaged – and it always passes inspection.
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