When life gives you travel… make sure you’ve packed properly.
The bed was covered with clothes, souvenirs, bottles of shampoo and shower gel, toys, power cords, and shoes. It was time to go home and time to pack. Our trip to Canada had been wonderful and we’d collected the inevitable restaurant cups, ticket stubs, and toys we couldn’t buy in the UK. The bed was covered, and so we had to finish before we could sleep.
This is my husband’s sneaky way of forcing me to be organized. I’m one of those people who likes to squeeze every last drop of connection out of the in-person relationship before we have to return it to an online, email, facetime friendship from the other side of the world. But we still have to pack! The long trip back to England was ahead of us, and at the time we had three small children.
Our youngest was three years old but still able to somewhat help with luggage with his tiny Batman backpack. (You know, train them young!) Our son liked to have his companions, Bunny and Bear, with him when he slept. Bunny was carefully placed in the miniature backpack for the overnight sleep on the plane. But, since Bear was a little rotund (I think he’d eaten one too many Tim Horton donut holes whilst in Canada), he had made the “choice” to ride home in the hold luggage. We had assured our little boy the hold luggage was right below where we sat, and Bear would be just fine tucked away in the big suitcase.
It took some creative storytelling and a lot of persuasion, but Bear was placed with great care in the big suitcase, with some shirts wrapped around him for extra comfort. It would be less than 24 hours until they would be reunited. It was all fine. The trip home was uneventful and there was even the bonus of a few hours of sleep on the ride home. However, the baggage collection was a lot more eventful. There was one bag that didn’t arrive and yes, you’ve guessed it, it was the bag where Bear was “sleeping”.
My husband and I looked at each other with horror. The airline promised to deliver the bag to our home the next day, but we both knew this news would not placate a tired, grumpy toddler when it came to bedtime and Bear was still “on holiday”. And bedtime came. If you’ve ever been around a jet-lagged preschooler, you know this story has an uncomfortable, loud, snotty end. To be honest, some of the snotting might have come from me as I tried, through tears of frustration, without success, to calm our little chap with one of the hundred other stuffed animals he had on his shelf. But no, he needed Bear. He behaved as if Bear was the single most important stuffed toy, he had ever laid eyes on. That night even Bunny was rejected.
To cut a long and harrowing story short, there was a night of fitful and broken sleep. Bear was returned the next day and bedtime started at about 4 pm…for everyone! We learned a couple of valuable lessons on that trip. If the stuffed pal was too big for the carry-on luggage, he became the stuffed buddy who stayed home to “look after all the other soft toy friends”.
I also learned I am a little bit like my youngest son. How many times have I thrown a wobbly when that one thing I’ve put all my hope and comfort in is not there anymore? I have been like a squally toddler who “needed” the right job title, or the correct car. I have thrown a fit when the coziness of friendship was no longer available. I have lost my cool when the pleasure of a certain food group revealed itself as the enemy of my health.
We all need to pay attention to this story and remember God is the ultimate comforter. He is the only one who can bring us perfect relief. We find total security in His arms alone.
I love my very old Winnie the Pooh toy, stuffed with wood shavings. He’s good friends with Bear these days. There is nothing wrong with soft toys, or good friends. But nothing outweighs the reassurance of an eternal relationship with a Heavenly Father. We are all traveling through life. Let’s be those who “pack” properly by filling the suitcases of our minds with His words, His ways, and His truths, before we ever venture out on any kind of travel. When life gives you travel, make sure you’ve packed properly.
As I was reading this for the first time, I was thinking as a Mom of 3 I can completely relate to almost every type of meltdown and laughed a little. But as I read on, I saw where Sharon was going with the story and my heart ached because I am guilty of looking for reassurance and comfort outside of God and His word. Did that glass of wine, cup of coffee, shopping trip, or gripe-fest with a good friend actually truly help? I mean maybe for the moment. But when I "pack" my mind with what God has to say about what I am going through, my baggage becomes lighter.
Find and follow Sharon here: https://www.61-things.com/