What did I forget to pack?

A Christian Science perspective: Extreme weather or missed connections can sometimes result in disappointing vacations. Here are some insights on how to keep vacation time happy and fulfilling.

It’s about time to begin my packing list. Weeks before a trip is scheduled, I start my travel preparations with a list. Mostly I do this because I don’t want to forget anything I may want during our vacation. My husband would probably tell you that I generally overpack my bags with more clothes, etc., than I could possibly need or use. Nevertheless, his comments don’t deter me as I move forward toward our trip.

Over the years I’ve come across dozens of packing guides and many helpful tips. One begins, “Knowing how to pack a suitcase is essential to being a good traveler.” However, 30 years of traveling with my husband has taught me that a successful and happy trip requires more than the items I pack in my bags. Indeed, the most important thing I need to pack doesn’t require luggage. As the title of an online Christian Science Sentinel audio chat puts it, “Preparing to Travel? Don’t forget to pack prayer.”

I’ve found that beginning trip preparations with prayer has helped me add items to my suitcase that I may not have thought I needed and then did indeed need during the trip. Also, planning for a trip can raise all sorts of anxieties. For me, this has included fear of flying, health concerns, the dread of severe weather or any other unexpected disappointments or even catastrophes.

With plenty to fear and fret about, it’s a wonder anyone can ever have a happy vacation. But prayer can help people find the perfect solution for every situation. During one of our trips where everything went wrong (we actually had to evacuate for a hurricane), prayer made the difference in turning the trip into a safe, and still fun, adventure.

Packing prayer means acknowledging God’s control and power before you pack – even before you make your packing list. Then, certainly every day throughout a trip, prayer can involve listening for God’s wisdom and knowing that He is providing you with the practical ideas you need. Packing prayer means being alert to the angels of His presence – the spiritual intuitions and thoughts God gives you. These spiritual guides are at hand to lead you on a safe journey and to deliver you if you get into trouble. The Psalmist promises, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (91:11). Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “These angels deliver us from the depths” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 567). Thank God!

Another psalm tells us how we can hear the guidance that the angel guardians give: “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10). Being mentally still may not always be easy, especially in challenging times, but doing so, if only for a few moments, enables us to hear God’s angel messages more clearly.  

In preparing for traveling and embarking on a trip, you can be assured that God is with you to care for you each step – or mile – of the way. You can trust in the Psalmist’s reassuring message, “The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (121:8).

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