Travel lightly – carrying neither weighty luggage nor burdensome preconceptions.
(Welleran Poltarnees, A Travel Blessing, Seattle, WA: Laughing Elephant Books, 2000, p4)
After ten years living next to us, our neighbors are moving tomorrow. Our guest dog of a couple of months, Montana, left Monday afternoon. Our neighbors are staying a town away for a year, then heading to the West coast; Montana and her family move to Arkansas tomorrow.
Boxes are changing hands. Paint supplies that won’t be moving West are here, a layover on the way to creating a youth room at Christ Church. Montana’s red crate went home with her, packed with a blanket, snacks, and the line we bought for her use in the back yard. There are outgrown clothes, items for an upcoming yard sale, and books collected for the library, all set to go. Lots of things are moving to a new life elsewhere. Paring down makes traveling easier, and it also makes staying at home easier; letting go of the burden of unnecessary things is a life skill for travel and a blessing when practiced at home.
My mother says that what we own owns us. It takes time, energy, and attention to enjoy, employ, and maintain our things. Weighty luggage is weighty luggage, to go or to stay. Too many things or too many preset ideas trip us up or block our view, and our world shrinks to the size of our material and ideological stuff. There’s little room to breathe and no room to welcome others. Living lightly and traveling lightly grows our world, making room for ourselves and others. Perhaps that’s why Jesus sent his followers on their way with just their clothes and good news of God’s kingdom – light as a feather and vast as the cosmos.