packing light

This weekend, my grandma took me and Macaela on our 5th annual "Mystery Trip," where Grammy simply tells us what to pack and then hauls us off to an unknown destination for a few nights. This year, we had a wonderful time in Portland visiting some of the great locations we'd never seen, even though we live just 45 minutes away!

About a month ago, we received our official invitation and packing list from Grammy. As always, she reminded us to "pack light!" Due to limited room in the car, we all had to consolidate our clothes into as little space as possible and only take what we needed. While packing, it seemed hard; it felt like we were leaving behind things we needed, or might need. But once we were on the road and in the midst of our adventures, we realized that the things we'd packed really weren't the important factors of the trip. The people we were with made the weekend special.

Now, I need to remember to apply that principle to life. Pack light. Life's not about the stuff you have, it's about your relationship with your Savior, and your love for others that springs forth from it.

There have been constant reminders of the fragility of life. Earlier this year, a home-school dad from our area was killed in a car accident. A few months ago, a sweet, older man from our church passed away. Just over two weeks ago, Nate Stutzman left earth because of leukemia. Early this week, Steve Jobs died, unable to do anything to stop the cancer in his body. On Thursday, one of our first Oregonian friends, Mrs. Duckworth, passed away suddenly from a stroke at the age of 45. And today marks ten weeks since Jimmy's life moved from here to heaven.

Not one of these people left earth with anything more than their soul. And if they were looking back at us now, I'm sure they would plead with us to leave behind the material things of this world in order to truly serve our God and the people around us.

On the first day of our trip, we visited the Pittock Mansion. Built in the early 1900s, the mansion was beautifully furnished and had a gorgeous view of the city beneath it. But walking through the  house, I couldn't help but reflect on the vast amount of resources that Henry and Georgiana Pittock had poured into this house. And now, neither of them are here to enjoy it. Soon, we will all be gone as well. The children's playroom is deserted. The china tea seats are never used.  Eventually, the house, the curtains, the marble staircases, and the beautiful piano will all crumble into the past. All it will leave us with is the question of whether those things were really worth what we made them out to be.

It's often been said that "the greatest things in life aren't things." On our trip with Grammy, the greatest experiences were the simplest. My favorite was walking through the Japanese Garden's together and experiencing the wonder and beauty of the trees and the water. Similarly, the best times in life will be those when the distractions of this world fall to the ground and we wonder at the beauty of Jesus above all else.

Scripture tells us "all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flower falls." It will be such a short time from now until the time each of us face eternity. Looking back on your life, will you see a love of material things? Or will you see a unhindered devotion to Jesus? Because in the end, only one matters at all.

We don't need a lot of things. They won't make us happy or content. The only true satisfaction comes in Jesus.

So in this life, pack light.


  1. Life is real ! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
    Find us farther than to-day.

    Longfellow (A Psalm of Life)


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