No, we’re not talking about body weight, we’re talking luggage.
We arrived safe and sound in Inverness, Scotland, but our luggage didn’t. We picked up our rental car and carried on to Ullapool, where we will spend time working on our courses and French language study and visiting with family before heading to South Africa on August 1 to join the semester underway at the College of Transfiguration.
Most likely, we will be reunited with our luggage. We had a really quick connection to make and it was probably just too fast for our luggage to keep up. Right before we taxied away from the terminal, I saw a driver of an empty luggage cart wave and give a thumbs up to the pilot. I thought that meant, You’re good to go, we got all the luggage on! Maybe it meant, Look at you, driving that plane! You look awesome, pal!
We both packed carefully. We’ve got our 50 pounds each, comprised of clothes for four seasons (no extreme cold or heat, but temps spanning 30-90 degrees f.), some meds, hiking boots, running shoes, a foam roller to prevent running injuries, and books. Electronics and some more books went in our carry-ons.
It’s not a crisis if we have to shop and replace things. And it feels like a bit of grace to get to practice what it’s like to have our luggage lost while we’re in a familiar place within the easy reach of Amazon. What we’ve learned is we should get bigger backpacks to use for carry-ons. Luggage loss will happen again, and it would be great to have room for a change of clothes, some toiletries, and the books that would be harder to replace in our carryons for the next time.
Having just the clothes I’m wearing (and some electronics), makes me think of the stories in the Gospels where Jesus sends out the twelve (Mark 6; Matthew 10) and the seventy (Luke 9) into surrounding towns and villages to share Jesus’ ministry of healing, exorcism, and proclamation. He gives them a list of what not to bring: no bag, purse, sandals, two tunics (a change of clothes), or staff (that’s a stick, not employees). In Mark he tells them take nothing but a stick. They are way under a 50 pound limit. He wants them to know they’re dependent on the hospitality of others, that they should give, just as they received, with no payment.
I think he wanted them, and wants us to know too, that mission means needing to receive as well as having something to give, and the most important something you have to give is not something you can pull out of a suitcase.
In Mark’s Gospel, the next time we see the disciples after this episode is when the crowds have followed Jesus and Jesus has been teaching them and it’s gotten late. The disciples tell Jesus to send the crowds away so they can get themselves something to eat. Jesus tells the disciples to feed them. They retort, Where are we going to come up with enough money to buy everyone here some bread? Jesus asks the disciples how many loaves of bread they have. They check and come up with five and–bonus–two fish. That’s not a lot of food to feed a multitude, but it’s an awful lot compared to the nothing they were supposed to be carrying around. Jesus takes the little they have, blesses, breaks, and gives it, and there is enough for everyone and leftovers besides.
I hope our luggage has some good adventures. If it catches up with us, I hope it comes back looking something like this:
If it doesn’t, I hope someone else makes good use of what’s inside.
Update: Luggage located and delivered to us. No stickers.