What’s in your carry on?

What’s in your carry on?

When you are packing for a trip, especially one involving airplanes, how much time do you spend thinking about what’s in your carry on?

We ended up doing quite a bit of travel this summer, including a couple of amazing days in Venice. Not all of the travel was as great as Venice. Some of the travel was fun, some was less fun. Some went better than expected, and some didn’t go well at all.

I have learned when traveling, especially overseas, to be sure to be really intentional about what goes in my carry on. Going back to our honeymoon 30 years ago, one of us was intentional about what went in her carry on, the other, not so much, and one of us had to wear his long pants and leather shoes in Jamaica. Carry on’s are important.

This summer as we traveled in Europe, we were careful with what we packed so if our luggage were lost on our international flight, we would have what we needed. (So of course we didn’t need it!)

Life is very much a journey. Scripture says we are sojourners/exiles/strangers in this world. With that in mind, how well are you packed? If you think of what you really need in your carry on here on earth, what would you pack?

Here is my list for today…some of it may be different tomorrow!

  1. Gratitude. Gratitude makes everything better. There is pretty much always an “at least” in any situation. I can whine about having my wallet stolen in Barcelona, the pick pocket capital of the world, on our first day there. Or, I can say “Hey, at least they didn’t get my passport or phone!” Seriously thankful. I can complain about the tiny airline seat, or be grateful for my awesome traveling companions, and hey, on an airplane!! If we look, we can usually find some way we can be grateful. I will say that there are parts of this summer that it is taking intentionality to be grateful, but even in the darkest places, there has been light. And for that, I am so very thankful to God!
  2. Faith—or Trust—in God. I can either get spun up on what ifs, or if only’s, or I can’t believe’s, or I can trust that good or bad, God is there, God is in control, and is with me no matter what. Again, even in the darkest places, I am not alone and I can trust a God who loves me and promises to never leave me. I can look, with hope, for God’s consolation in these places.
  3. Joy. Joy, for me, is probably one of the most expensive things in my carry on. And I don’t mean the perfume! To “pay” for this I have had to intentionally pack the gratitude and the faith on previous travels to crummy circumstances. To have joy, regardless of what is going on around me, I need to resupply often, with gratitude and faith, so that I can know all will be OK with God. It is only out of this that we can have Joy no matter what.
  4. Love. This is probably the least expensive to me of the things in my carry on, because it is so heavily subsidized by God. God pays for it and it is mine for the asking/receiving. I just have to remember to pack it. It also helps pay for the Gratitude, Faith and Joy. As a matter of fact, God gives so much of it, that we can freely give it to those around us and know that as long as we keep going back to God for more, we have an unending supply! How often do we hoard it, like we can’t get more? Or not value it, run out, and not ask for more?
  5. Patience. In this day and age we all know we need patience in order to survive travel—literal and figurative! Patience usually only happens to me when I am intentional (I am NOT naturally a patient person!!!) and I am other centered. If I am not feeling patient, I can use that opportunity to practice patience.

Obviously, I could go on and on, but it is only a carry on. What would you add to or subtract from my list? What items do you need? You never know when life will take an unintended turn and we will need one of these items from our carry on. Be prepared!

Rev. Shannon Jordan is the pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Decatur, AL  To receive notifications when there is a new post click on the menu (three horizontal lines) at the top right, scroll down and enter your email where it says “Follow Blog Via Email”. To see the previous blog, click on the arrow under the menu, or if you want to see more blogs, click on the grid under the arrow. On the main page, if you hover over a photo, you will be given an option to read the blog. On that page the arrow will take you to another page of blog photos. Enjoy!

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