Packing My Bags

In our home this week, there has been much discussion of travel. A good number of my Nashville friends are filling up Oxford at the moment, putting on what I hope is the first of many Hutchmoots in the UK. Their Instagram feeds are lighting up with picnics in Port Meadow, walks in the Cotswolds, and pints at the Bird and Baby.

As David made his tea yesterday morning, he let out a little groan. I asked what was on his mind. He said, “I was just remembering our last day in London. I remember making my tea that morning and thinking about how our trip was over…how there would be no more tea in London for us. If we were to ever go again, there would be another last day, and that makes me sad.”

I laughed aloud, thinking about how he had not only jumped to making another trip, but also to that trip already being over. I would call it glass-half-empty thinking; he would call it realism.

There is definitely something about travel that helps me meditate on Heaven. Back in 2014, David and I made our first trip to England, just the two of us. I spent most of the months leading up to the trip in disbelief that it was actually going to happen. On days that were hard, with the usual demands of parenting and homeschooling and all of the rest of it, I would think about how at a definite, set date in the future, I would be landing on the ground in London. I would take a train to Oxford. I would be there! It seemed too good to be true. I could endure a lot of hard days if I kept the goal in mind. 

I picked out things I would wear. I anticipated how I would pack. I made list after list of places I wanted to see, knowing full well that there would, in fact, be a “last day,” and I could never see everything. Why oh why can’t travel time and budgets be limitless?

But in eternity, the time and the budget is limitless. Why do we not live more often with this truth in mind? At some definite, set date in the future, we will be with the Lord. We will have all the time in the world to enjoy, to walk, to grow, to rest. We will walk in the Port Meadows of eternity and not grow tired. There won’t be a sad “last day.” We can put of with a lot in the here and now if we keep that in mind.

I don’t mean to say we should check out for now and be “so Heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.” What comes our way in the here and now is a way of “packing our bags,” of preparing us for the feast and rest to come. We can welcome it with the knowledge that there is a sure and steady hand guiding it to us and for our good. 

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  John 14:1-3