Friday Five: Packing or Packrat?

Deb writes:

We are 90% done with the pack-em-up-and-move-em-out week here are our hacienda. One daughter is moving to her first apartment, the other daughter to her dorm for her freshman year of college. Not gonna lie, it was an adventure
these last few days!

As a part of the process, we let our daughters manage their own packing (with our input and support.) Part of that educational experience (for all of us) was letting them figure out how to create their own organization, make choices, and consolidate what they were packing. And also pack carefully enough so that they could still get everything in the car — and in the dorm/apartment!

It made me realize that there are some elements to packing and moving that are learned, and some that are innate. So let’s talk “packing or pack rat?” for this week’s Friday Five.

1. Are you a sorter or a pack rat? What I mean by that is, do you select what you are taking with you (on a trip, a new assignment, a vacation), or do you pack with abandon (overweight suitcases be damned!)

This depends on the situation, so I shall address all of the situations:

a) Trip – I pack in outfits for a trip, then add a couple of extras to account for weather and mood changes. I am a bit of an over-packer because I need options. One cannot predict one’s mood ahead of time.

b) Moving – EVERYTHING MUST GO. I am not precious about much when it means I may have to put it in a box, schlepp it to a new location, and then figure out where it has to go. That being said, I still have way too much crap.

c) Vacation – same as (a)

2. Who first helped you learn how to pack? Or did you just come into it by osmosis or natural gifting  (and need)?

This question assumes that I have at some point learned to pack. Despite my mother’s best efforts to make me an organizer, all of that genetic material bypassed me and went straight to my younger brother. I start out with the best laid plans and by the end it’s just shoving s&*t in boxes.

3. What’s your favorite kind of suitcase? Duffle? Soft-side? Wheels? (I am personally a fan of my “expanding zipper” wheelie suitcases. Saved my bacon on many a return trip home!)


4. Do you have that “packing gene” — or do you pack and cram what you need into every available space?

As mentioned earlier, I start out organized and it all goes to hell when I’m moving. When I’m traveling, I’m actually pretty good because it involved smaller amounts of my stuff. I pack in outfits, as I said, but I also do the rolling thing. Saves tons of space. My mom swears by space bags, but that’s too much work for me.

5. What’s one thing you’ve learned in traveling, packing or storing your belongings that you think everyone should know?

The more often you have to move your stuff around, the less stuff you want to have to move around.

Blogging Elul – #13 Forgive

Blogging Elul

I’ve written a lot about this subject and I think that I’m pretty good at it for the most part. I don’t typically hold things too long. I’m sure that there are things that I have that I’m not aware of. Forgiveness is as much a process as conversion or maturation. It’s not an event. It comes over time as I am healed and am able to accept and extend grace. Some of my favorite quotes:

The  weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the  strong.
Mahatma  Gandhi

Forgiveness  is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed  it.
Mark  Twain

You  will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel  the power to wish them well.
Lewis B. Smedes

Blogging Elul – #12 Trust

Blogging Elul

I have no business writing about this, so I’ll just quote Brennan Manning

“When John Kavanaugh, the noted and famous ethicist, went to Calcutta, he was seeking Mother Teresa … and more. He went for three months to work at “the house of the dying” to find out how best he could spend the rest of his life.

When he met Mother Teresa, he asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she replied. He then uttered the request he had carried thousands of miles: “Clarity. Pray that I have clarity.”

“No,” Mother Teresa answered, “I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind of clarity he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Blogging Elul – #10 See

Blogging Elul

Whoever  fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a  monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back  into you.
Friedrich  Nietzsche

I have a near-photographic memory. Or at least I did before I turned 40. The shutter is closing it seems. But prior to my slide up an over the hill, I could see something once and pretty much capture it, if I was trying to. I’m not one of these party trick people who see and memorize things whether they want to or not. But for the most part, the things I see, really see, stay in my brain, for better or worse.

Remember the children’s song “Be Careful Little Eyes What you See”. I won’t get into what’s theologically wrong with that song but there truth in understanding how important it is to guide our eyes to see things that are helpful, healthy, life-giving, because what we see goes in our brain, and we dwell on the things that are in our brains.

Think on these things.

Blogging Elul – #8 Believe

Blogging Elul

The word “believe’ was explained to me as having and action component to it that makes it different from just “knowing” something. For example, I can sit in a dark room and know that if I get up and flip a switch, there will be light. But I don’t really believe that until I actually get up and flip the switch. There is a broad and very deep chasm between knowing and believing. It’s scary, dark, unknown and seemingly unleapable. It reminds me of the scene in the last decent Indiana Jones film when Indy has to step out onto nothing to get to the holy grail. Take the step. Oh sure, it doesn’t look like there’s anything there, but the old dude with the beard said to do it, so what could possibly go wrong? When you believe, it’s time to do. And until you do, just be.

Blogging Elul #6 & 7 – Do & Be

Blogging Elul

I’m cheating a bit and putting Do and Be together because I find that those two things are always fighting within me a bit. My first thought when I saw these words juxtaposed was, “I am a human being, not a human doing.” This is something that I have to repeat often to myself because I can be a bit of a workaholic and tend to find my value in what I do rather than in who I am. Also comes from being a musician with a performance-based self esteem. In my younger days when I wanted to escape emotional difficulty, I would DO.

I can be impatient with introspection, or what I sometimes can interpret as navel-gazing. I’m all about taking time to contemplate, but there is a time to be and a time to do. My time to do sometimes comes quicker than others. Perhaps the grace is learning to balance the being and the doing is to honor the timing that feels right to me and honor the timing that feels right to others.

When I take time to BE, I’m all there is. There is no distraction, no noise, no performance, no effort. In that way, when I come to the end of myself, and it’s just me and God, we are alike in that We Are. I am. What I love about the Hebrew word for God’s name (and about the whole language) is that there are so many possible meanings for every word. There are pages and pages of possible meanings for God’s name. My favorite is I am Becoming Who I Am Becoming. God is, was, will be, and is becoming. This is one of many ways we are in the image of God. We are but we are also not yet, and in the present moment, we can BE.