What’s In Your Suitcase?

I’m really not a poet, but given the task of writing about something as daunting as packing, I became one.



The long awaited summer is here.
Pack up the boxes, bags and cases.
Pack it just right because there’s an ocean to cross.
Pray the packing’s not in vain as the bag rolls away, one tiny tag listing its destination.

Get there, unpack, pack, unpack, pack and repeat.
Now it’s time to shop!
“That goes in your bag,” he says.
“Can we really cross the ocean with that?!” she inquires.

Each purchase carefully considered.
Each pinched penny pensively parted with.
Meds, mixes and miscellaneous marvels stumbled upon at the Super Mart.
Everything is much more, more, MORE than we’re used to.

The stuff piles up.
Blessed and burdened all at once.
Must we really tote this across the ocean?
Remember that “future me” will hate “present me” for leaving it behind.

Pack some more.
Bag it, stuff it, roll it, fold it, smash it, wrap it, hide it, WEIGH it.
A last minute duffel purchase brings both joy and dread.
Castoffs from the “send later” pile make the last call after all.

Now to get it to the airport – all those hours of Tetris pay off at last.
Let’s cross the ocean, yet again.
Pray, again, the packing is not in vain.
Watch TSA wonder over the embarrassing contents of each case.

Pack the joy of one last hug and embrace of left behind loved ones into my heart.
Shove the tears aside, like my cargo, neatly zip-locked to prevent leaks.
Me, my hubby, my kids, my bags, my grief, my anticipation;
All packed up and ready to go again.


Want to share a list of “meds, mixes and miscellaneous marvels” you’re packing in your bag this summer? I’m always looking for new ideas!

Photo Credit: marfis75 via Compfight cc


  1. Laura July 21, 2014

    M’Lynn, absolutely love your poem! You captured the thoughts and emotions that go along with packing. I especially loved the line, “Remember that ‘future’ me will hate ‘present’ me for leaving it behind.” This is definitely true when it comes to “hard to find overseas” items. 🙂

    1. M'Lynn July 21, 2014

      Thanks!  It can be so tempting to just quit packing and leave the rest for next time, but when those long winter months roll around, I sure am thankful I did such a great job packing in the summer!  What’s your favorite “hard to find overseas” item you pack?

      1. Laura July 22, 2014

        Well, I wouldn’t consider contact solution my “favorite,” but it’s definitely my most needed. 🙂

  2. Jennifer July 21, 2014

    We need to remember too, that it is not just the physical items that we back into our bags and bring with us, which can be significant and help sustain us, especially when the challenging times, that will come, come.  But also the intangible things, like memories and prayers. I watch friends go home for the summer, and gather up memories, good times which they bring back with them, ready to serve for another year.  It might not make the bag heavy like physical things do, but I am beginning to wonder if the intangible things like memories and prayers are not all the more important to remember to pack… to deliberately choose to pack as well.

    1. M'Lynn July 21, 2014

      Jennifer, you are absolutely right!  I am sure that the memories and time spent with loved ones during a trip “home” are worth way more than the things I pack. That’s probably why I take so many photos!  Thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy our time, even in the midst of physical packing.

  3. Kristi July 21, 2014

    I really, really love this!  Physical and emotional packing is exhausting.  One day we will all be Home and need never pack again.

    1. M'Lynn July 21, 2014

      Good point. It makes me wonder if I’ll miss packing. As hard as it can be, it can still be fun to see a year’s supply of goofy (but necessary) stuff like contact solution and Dream Whip and cocoa and jalapenos and deodorant all packed up and ready for the long haul!

  4. Heather July 21, 2014

    Oh yes!  I have already done so much packing in the 2+ weeks I have been statewide.  As I type this, my duffle is sitting over there looking like it exploded. But, all my worldly goods are nearly stowed in a 5 x 10 storage unit. One packing project at a time. I am looking forward to the rest of the posts this week!

    1. M'Lynn July 21, 2014

      Heather…I know!!! Our parents are always amazed at how quickly our bags can explode all over the place and how quickly we can get it all packed up and out the door again!  We’ve surely reached “Master Packer” status by now.

  5. meredith July 24, 2014

    I CAN IDENTIFY! We’re moving from the mountains to the jungle next month. It’s only 1 hour and 20 min away, and there’s only TWO of us, but i’m still dreading the stress and body aches to come! (did i mention we’ve moved twice in the last year and a half?) And you really do need to go through everything…but it’s so hard to part with stuff that you know you might not find in your size, or might not even exist where you are living. We’re planning to stay in the new place for 5- 8 years…May it be forever! I am ready to settle and stay settled! M (13 yrs in Peru)

    p.s. we are grateful for several traveling ministry friends who have brought us fun treats this year (real simple mags, filofax refills, anything from Trader Joes’, JIF, Bodum coffee press, OPI polish, etc, etc….)

  6. Rhonda Wiley-Jones July 30, 2014

    I do not live oversea but for one month a year in Mexico, rather than Texas. It’s not time to pack for Mexico, but recently I have had recurring dreams that I’m on my way to another country. I’m  packing in the airport parking lot or I’m repacking as we leave the driveway or I’m remembering something I want that I didn’t pack and going back after it jeopardizing getting to my flight on time.

    Next week I’m going to a writing retreat/conference. I’m mulling what to take and playing with the thought of taking only 2-3 sets of clothes and making do. I’m taking my car and can take all the “stuff” I want to, but should I? I wonder what my dreams are trying to tell me?

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