Thursday, August 22, 2013

Packed and Unpacking

Last night, I got help from one of my friends in order to pack my back-pack, and it feels a little weird to be able to say that I'm all packed for my trip next week.  Honestly, I don't know if I've EVER been packed this far in advance before, and I seriously doubt that it will ever happen again!  Final Tally for my backpack: 17.6 lbs, plus a fanny pack that weighs another 3.6 lbs.  It is more than I would have liked, but it includes my hiking boots and my walking poles, so I will actually be walking with less than that on my back.  I'm pretty proud of myself for that, even if it IS more weight than I really wanted to take with me.

Because I was going to my friend's house straight from work, I brought my gear with me...When my boss saw the fanny pack, his comment was that I would look like a dork wearing the fanny pack.  I actually agree with him, but don't know how else to keep tabs on my passport, etc.  I would rather look like a dork than worry about losing my passport!

The amazing thing is that I actually have extra room in my backpack (Unlike most trips, I didn't have to do this!)--This is good, since it means I will be able to do things like carry a little food while I am walking, as well as be able to fill my water bladder!
I'm also getting close to where I need to be for work, and as long as my professors cooperate, I will have everything in good shape for while I'm gone.  I still have some cleaning at home to do, as well as to do some purging so that I have a place for all of the stuff I plan to keep, but the plan is to do that on Saturday morning, especially since my niece will be waking me up at 6 AM in order to get a good start on the day before I bring my nephews to their football game in the afternoon.  Then, the Bishop is going to be at the vigil Mass on Saturday, so I want to go to that as well.  After that, the plan is to go dancing with my Niece, since she needs some time with me before I leave.  I'm not sure that I can shoehorn anything else into Saturday if I tried!!!

The cart is my weekend, and I am feeling a little bit like the Burro!

My brother and his wife is also coming into town this weekend, so I wouldn't mind visiting with him a little bit at some point...We have a family dinner planned for Monday, so that may be the first time I can see him, but we will see.  I'm not sure what else is planned at this point, so until I know, I can't plan much better than what I have.

It is only 7 days until I board a plane for Spain and I am beginning to get excited about my trip, although I am also dreading all of the things I still need to complete before I go.  As time accelerates, my To Do List seems to get longer rather than shorter--and this is in SPITE of actually finishing items on my list!  At the end of these 7 days, whether I finish everything on my list or not, I'm still heading toward the airport at 4 AM on August 29th, as well as  boarding the plane at 6 AM.

I am flying Delta, then AirFrance (Operated by Delta) to Madrid...Unfortunately, I have a 6 hour layover in Atlanta.

So, the physical stuff is getting taken care of, and my attention has been drifting toward the spiritual side of my pilgrimage lately.  It has been heading in that direction for a while, but the scripture passage that I feel like the Lord wants me to memorize has been steering me more in that direction...

As I mentioned in my last post, I will be memorizing Isaiah 54 while on my Camino, which is a bit of a difficult passage, since it could very well point to me having a vocation as a religious sister.  (see verse 5, for instance, or even the first verse, where it talks about the desolate one having more children than her who is married.)  I don't know for sure that I will be heading in that direction, but I feel like the Lord wants me to prepare for...SOMETHING...on this trip.  I have already been working on memorizing this passage a little bit, and the second verse points to preparation--for making room--for what God wants to give me:
Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; hold not back, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. (emphasis mine)
So, I've been thinking about and working on UN-packing the clutter and baggage that I have in my spirit/emotions.  This isn't always easy, just as it isn't always easy to clean out our closets--most of us have that ONE outfit that, even though it doesn't fit right anymore, we keep, either because "I will be able to fit into it again one day." or "But I wore that outfit when..."  I think that we do this spiritually as well, and in the process, we don't have room for the blessings and lessons that God wants to give us.  Instead, we are too busy thinking, "Remember how much God blessed me way back when?"  or, "Why can't God bless me the way He did 3 years ago?!?"  Sometimes, we think more along the lines of, "I deserve to hold on to my anger at So-and-So because of what they did to me."  or "It is OK if I continue to do X.  It is only a little sin. God understands."  And, the next thing we know, our spiritual house looks more like that of a hoarder's house than as the Tabernacle of Worship that it is supposed to be.

Does your heart look like this?

Really, I have been working on this since my divorce, but the process has been accelerating of late--I can let go of things I never thought I would be able to, and in the process, I have found a source of peace and joy that I had forgotten was available.  I have been learning that both the Good and the Bad, when I hold on to it with inordinate attachment, can be just as cluttering as the other.  I learned back in High School that the Lord gives us blessings in order for us to bless others--when I hold on to them, my heart becomes a stagnant pool and I start to grow spiritual scum, or I start to accumulate things that I don't need anymore, like the picture above. I don't want to be like that, so I am learning to let go--in Catholic Parlance, it is being detached--not just from physical things, but from spiritual consolations as well.  How can the Lord do a new thing if I am clinging to the old?

I have a feeling that my Camino will make some things very clear to me, not just personally, but spiritually and professionally as well.  I'm excited to be walking this path, but I also know that I need to make room for God to move in my life.  So, in these last 7 days, I will continue the de-cluttering of my heart through prayer, confession, forgiveness, and extending a little grace to myself.  As I continue to prepare, please pray for me.