At 4:15 am this morning we pulled out of our driveway with Memory Maker in tow heading for Herkimer, NY and a month full of new adventures. We packed for what seemed like an eternity over the last few weeks, trying to ensure we had every single thing we would need. We stacked and stored and put things away, trying to find just the right place inside Memory Maker for every item.
At home we also “unpacked” and threw out a lot of stuff from the pantry and refrigerator considering we’ll be gone for an entire month. Tim packed up lots of clothes to donate to Goodwill after his 40 pound weight loss. I even unpacked some of our oldest family photos I hadn’t looked at in years to share with Mom this week. It was great to see her face light up seeing photos from her youth.
All of this packing and unpacking got me to thinking…we pack and unpack many times in our lives going from place to place, but we also pack away and unpack our feelings and emotions too. This has been such an emotional time of late with the largest mass shooting in US history in Orlando, and just two days ago the bombing at the Istanbul airport. I wish we could “pack away” all the hate in this world and put in a storage locker never to be opened again. And wouldn’t it be amazing to “unpack” unconditional love and understanding from wherever we are hiding it?
As we are almost 2 hours into our 7 hour drive, I’m thinking about all of the relationships in my life. There are some hurt feelings I need to pack away so I can forgive those people and start our relationships anew. I need to unpack more compassion and love inside myself so I won’t judge others so quickly. The world would be a much better place if we’d all make an effort to pack and unpack the things in our lives that keep us from loving unconditionally and forgiving more quickly.
Over the next 30 days I pledge to do more packing and unpacking in my life, putting in boxes and storing away everything that’s holding me back from being the person God intended for me to be. It will be great to unpack some of the feelings I hid away long ago too. I’m also packing away my fear that my month of fulfilling my dream of teaching LEGO classes won’t go well. As you go through this holiday weekend, I hope you’ll join me in thinking about what you may need to pack away or unpack in your life. Who knows, we may all be surprised by the results!
Ret, I hope NY goes as you want, I can’t imagine it won’t. You don’t have the nickname Spunky for no reason. I also can’t imagine that you aren’t already the person God intended you to be. You are one of the most loving, compassionate, forgiving people I know. Reading your blog just now made me realize that I have some packing to do myself. A recent situation here in NY, I know I haven’t handled it very good and need to do some readjusting on it. Thank you for making me see I really do need to rethink and regroup on how I’m handling it. I hope this next month goes well for you and Tim! I love you tons!
You’re the best my sister!! Reading your post makes me feel great all over! I want my blog to make people think and feel so thanks so much for sharing. I know you’ll work this situation out in a good way!! Love you back…Always!! See you soon!!
Loretta and Tim, foremost, Pontheolla and I pray you have a safe journey to Herkimer, NY, and all along the way and back (you are coming back, right?!, for a month seems/feels like a long time!). We also pray your time there is fruitful; that your LEGO classes go as well as you hope and better than you can imagine; that you and Tim deepen your bonds of love and relationship, especially amidst this new adventure; that you two find refreshment and re-creation.
Now, your packing-and-unpacking activity AND metaphor is both universal and useful. Given I have too much “stuff”, accumulated over time – clothes, papers, books, nik-naks, etc. – some (much?) of which I don’t use or use regularly, I, on occasion, weed out and throw out or give away. Decluttering of physical things inexorably leads to contemplating emotional and psychic baggage that I’ve hoarded and carry around.
Not a day or so ago, I thought anew about my habit/practice (now of many, many years, doubtless going back to my formative development) of harboring ill feelings toward those I believe have wronged me, whether in large or small ways. Doing this is second nature to me and I continue to do it even when (1) I realize that much of the time the hurt inflicted was not intended, (2) the person or persons who acted were not thinking of me at all, but rather doing what s/he/they thought best in their circumstances, and (3) I, for example, in response to Orlando and Istanbul, consciously recommit to be and do unconditional love. Mercy, particularly in light of point 3, what a massive contradiction!
Thanks for your post. I must (though I don’t often use that word!) reflect more on unpacking AND tossing out my capacity AND tendency to bear grudges!
AND as for packing say hatred and unpacking unconditional love in my heart and in the world, amen, amen, and amen!
Thanks Paul for your prayers for safe travel, your reflection and your thoughtful reply!! First and foremost YES we are returning to MD at the end of July! And YES a month is really a long time, but being and working at Herkimer Diamond Mines is a fabulous way to test out our retirement plan of traveling the country offering classes and presentations in exchange for free camping, called Workamping. If a month turns out to be too long we will seek out shorter contracts. The owner of Herkimer Diamond mines wanted to add a month long LEGO camp in conjunction with all the science, gems and robotics classes they offer. She actually wanted two month but I can’t be away that long. We are getting any added bonus of a salary in addition to the free campsite. A sweet deal!!
What got me thinking about packing and unpacking was just how emotional I’ve been of late with all the happenings and how I tend to pack things away when I don’t want to deal with something! I didn’t want to pack away the hurt and pain I felt after Orlando so I didn’t!!
Thanks for sharing so much of your feelings about the baggage you carry around. Being very close to you we’ve shared a few grudges but have always moved past it. Thanks too for your commitment to thinking more about packing & unpacking!! I tend to reflect on your sermons and blog posts for a week or until the next one comes out because there are always great words to live by or to ponder. So many things are second nature in our lives and we just fall back on them naturally, so I really appreciate your recommitment to be and do unconditional love.
Amen!! And much love!
What an awesome theme!! I know you will do well figuring out what to do with the things you unpack and where to lock away those you pack. That can sometimes be a daunting task cuz you never really know what you find.
I remember packing my Mom’s apartment after her passing. Figuring out just what to keep and discard. What would she want me to hold on to or give away and considering her life and feelings as I did so. For SURE there was a flood of emotions and I tried greatly to be in that place rather than my own feelings, whatever they may have been. Now having packed away things, I have yet to unpack many of the things she left for me. Could it be that I need a breather from all of those emotions? Possibly.
About twice a year, I get to pack away Kendal’s clothes as she grows out of them and unpack bags of new ones. I re-live just about every outfit; flashbacks to adventures we had or just how adoreable she looked. It has been hard limiting myself to saving only 1 or 2 favorite outfits – lol.
Then there’s my OWN stuff to pack and unpack. As I begin charting new paths of my life, I have unpacked some stored away things that I had hoped one day I’d be ready for again. I’m glad to say that I am happy to see ‘old friends’ that somehow look new and fresh. It is a challenge however to begin packing other parts of my life, but as I have done so in the past, I will re-visit each emotion and each thing. Keep what is precious and be accepting of what I need to let go.
THANK YOU for this reminder of the bitter sweetness of packing and unpacking and the peace and freedom they both bring!
This is soooooo deep!!! We had similar experiences cleaning out our mom’s apartments, though of course my mom is still physically with us. I struggled with what to keep and get rid of and of course she could offer no help. I kept her high school yearbook and her photo album she developed herself in high school which you’ve seen. You did a great job, virtually alone with all your mom’s stuff. And YES when you’re ready you’ll unpack it…. And maybe share some of it with Kendal for new memories.
I think in our lifetime we pack and unpack so much! I love the direction you’re going in, and the thought you’re putting into revisiting the things you’ve packed away.
I totally get it about Kendal!! The reason I make her photo books and get one for me and Tim is that I don’t want to share my book with anyone and I’ll never pack any of them away until I die and someone does it for me. I reflect on each photo and each event and can recall if she was laughing or crying or dancing or tumbling. When she’s married with her own kids, I’ll be still looking at her photos and she’ll have her own packing and unpacking to do.
Sounds like a spiritual journey with some relaxing and doing what you feel like doing at any time – no schedules, no ‘have toos’. You two enjoy every minute! Have fun!
Thanks Carole!!!! You’re exactly right!!! This is all about fun!!!! Looking forward to getting started!!! And to relaxing!!