19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I always take my Bible in the carry on. I have several, but use one. It's the one Mrs. Barbara Ready gave me in Sunday School when we moved to a new church in a new town when I was starting 4th grade. Don't even guess at the math, suffice it to say my Bible is also old enough to have grandchildren. Anyway, it's just a typical church issue Revised Standard Version with navy fabric over a cardboard cover. Probably 25 years ago, after having pitifully glued and taped the covers, I absconded with a nice quilted book cover we had given Mary a couple of years earlier (horrible example of Mom giveth and Mom taketh away). By the time of our Thanksgiving trip, Tom was pretty embarrassed when I carried my sad looking Bible to church, reminding me that I had other better looking ones, which incidentally had the same Scriptures. He didn't understand why this particular Bible was so special.
BACKSTORY: When I was a freshman in high school and chose to take following Jesus seriously, this was the only Bible I had. And so, its real journey began. Bookmarks for Bible studies, freshly underlined verses (almost heresy to my ultra-conservative parents), and eventually tokens of life. I still remember the first verse (besides John 3:16) I underlined and memorized: Matthew 7:7. The tokens became life markers. There was small photo of Mary and my niece, Sarah, decorating the church for Mary's wedding. Mama's obituary, printed on colored paper and laminated from the funeral home (because that made the loss seem less, right?). Touching notes from students. My dilapidated, but much loved Bible gave me life and held my life, or so I thought.
Back to our Jacksonville trip. Aunt Anna was downsizing, seriously downsizing, and there were some personal treasures she wanted to pass on, like irreplaceable family photos. Truthfully, I don't remember what else she wanted to give me that I thought was important enough to displace my Bible in my carry on. With misgivings, but loving Aunt Anna, I hesitantly put my Bible in the American Tourister pullman she had given us the year before.
Tired and with a three hour drive back to northeast Missouri ahead of us, we arrived at Mid-Continent International airport the day before we all had to return to work and school. After multiple spins of the luggage carousel and more patience than we felt, I had to notify the airlines that my bag was missing. No problem, they have a process. No problem? Don't you people realize what's in that bag? No problem! Thank goodness, for Tom, because I was not looking or sounding like a positive Christian role model. Seriously? What an oxymoron I was, throwing a fit because someone lost my Bible.
The airline agent assured us they would locate my bag and have it sent asap to our home in northeast Missouri, but it may take a few days. Oh, and by the way, here's the insurance paperwork just in case it's not found. Great!
After days of grieving like I'd lost my best friend, the UPS man showed up at my school. One of the secretaries (whose present was also in the lost bag) was excited to let me know my suitcase had arrived. But it wasn't my bag! Both the secretary and the UPS man said to check the contents just to make sure (not because I'm a crazy woman who obviously wouldn't recognize her own teal-colored American Tourister pullman, but because there are other crazies who think it's funny to switch contents). Reluctantly, I opened the very dirty, beat up suitcase. Are you kidding me? One broken down running shoe, two nasty socks, and an empty beer bottle! AND the delivery man seemed compelled to ask me if those were my belongings! Are you kidding me? To make it even more ridiculous, my very petite secretary thought she had to stand between me (what's the opposite of petite?) and the man to keep me from going after him. More great role modeling, right? Oh, and did I mention I happened to be the building principal at the time? Oh yeah, girl here was totally off the chain, as my homies used to say.
SIDENOTE: If it wasn't for some of Mary's other traits and physical attributes, I would think she must be somebody else's child. Waaaayyyy too often, she has been far wiser than her years and her mother. This was one of those times. Sitting in the kitchen in the dark, crying all over the phone to her about my lost Bible, Mary reminded me that it was a book, just a book. The contents were embedded in my heart forever and no one could take them away from me.
BTW, God took pity on his very shallow and shaky child and returned my Bible, along with the suitcase and other contents. It has accompanied me on several subsequent trips since taking a little hiatus, but always travels in the carry on.
So, what's in your suitcase? What is it you don't think you can function without? What if you had to?
When you are grateful - when you can see what you have - you unlock blessings to flow in your life.