I have 163 bandaids. I counted. 163.
I could wallpaper a small room with them. Well, at least completely cover a small person.
In my defense, 19 years ago, we came with three little ones to China, a place so foreign they didn’t even have bandaids! So, every time we went to the US, more bandaids made the cut to come back in my suitcase to join my merry band of bandaids.
I’m not sure what natural disaster I have been anticipating that would involve multitudes of little cuts, but I’ve been ready!
How many other things have I held on to for fear of meeting the unexpected disaster unprepared? Or resisted purging a thing because it was once suitcase worthy?
Ironically, I am writing this sitting in the midst of the moving chaos of 19 years worth of accumulation. Stuff we’ve moved, carried over, minimalized, regrown, dispersed, collected, packed, unpacked and repacked.
The Chinese have a great word for “stuff”: dongxi, literally east-west. What a fitting word for all the things we collect from east to west – and places between.
With our babies all grown up, it is time to downsize our pile. My minimalist husband thinks we should put it all out on the street and watch the frenzy from a safe distance. My inner hoarder desperately throws herself over the dongxi in fear. Fear of lack. A hundred what if… scenarios flood the part of my brain that produces all the justifications for keeping rather than purging.
But as I have sorted and packed this time around, I am challenged by the word “enough”. Do I trust I will have enough of whatever I need? And not only things, but enough energy, enough time, enough space, enough resources, enough rest…
I am both comforted and confronted by these words from Isaiah 48:21, “They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; He made water flow for them from the rock: He split the rock and water gushed out.”
If you grew up in Sunday School, the familiarity of this story of water gushing out of a rock in the desert might have lost its wonder. But really? In the DESERT, WATER gushed out of a ROCK. They did not thirst. In the desert.
Will He do any less for me? For you? We follow a God who provides enough in ridiculous, outlandish, who-would-have-thought-of-that ways!
So… absolutely, yes, do pack your suitcase wisely with the wonderful advice of those who have been there, done that. But don’t forget to pack plenty of trust in the God of Enough.
And don’t forget to watch for splitting rocks and gushing water!
Now for some practical fun…
What if Velvet Ashes rallied together to put together a resource for all the women who are to follow us? What if each of us made out a simple packing list of the items needed for living in each of our countries/regions? Do you know how many countries that would be?? Do you know how amazing it would be for women moving overseas to find a master packing list where they simply click on the country that they are moving to and find out what to put in their suitcase? Yes, I think you know exactly how amazing that would be.
So, here’s what you need to do:
- Make a packing list of items that people should bring when moving to your area of the world.
- Be sure to include your country’s name and the city, if you can. Otherwise include the type of area that you live in (example: small town, rural Thailand)
- If you have a blog, post it on your blog and link it up at The Grove beginning Thursday at 6pm EST.
- If you don’t have a blog, you can add your packing list as a comment at The Grove. Or you can email it to us at submissions (at) velvetashes (dot) com.
Here are a couple samples:
Here’s what we’ll do at Velvet Ashes:
We’ll compile your lists and make a master list of links according to country, so that people moving to the field can learn what they need to put in their suitcase.
Take all that valuable know-how you’ve been gaining and let’s offer it to others!
And let’s not forget that even if a “must-have” item doesn’t make it into our suitcase, we will always have Enough.
P.S. You can also link up your blog posts that don’t include packing lists at The Grove this week. We know there’s lots to talk about when it comes to “Suitcase.”