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Trimming Down


evaluating possesions

Little did I know when we were packing our bags full of everything we could as we prepared for India that it would prove to be such a futility. We didn’t think we’d be returning to the States at all after this internship. We thought we’d be moving directly to England, so I brought what we could so that we could then have the things we needed/wanted in our new home. Of course, who is able to foresee the changes that inevitably come with life? Our plans have slightly changed and though we’ll be moving to the UK eventually (Scotland, not England), initially we’ll only be there a week before crossing the Atlantic to spend three months in the States to work out immigration issues. Still, no foreseen problems came until we looked at our baggage allowance from here to Scotland.
One would think that with this age of technology, and distances decreasing drastically with the advancement of travel, that it would become easier to move one’s things from one country to another. When I flew to Italy in 2002, I had a baggage allowance of two bags, up to seventy pounds each. That weight limit has since been decreased and one is usually allowed two bags weighing fifty pounds each, right? So we thought, and so we were allowed in coming to India. However, with more and more threats by different extremists, travelling by air is not such a ride in the park as it has been in the past. We are flying to Scotland with British Airways, a well-reputed airline that one would think would treat its customers well in order to retain good business. We were unfortunately mistaken on the baggage count, at least. Our baggage allowance is ONE fifty-one pound piece of baggage each and Aria is allowed a twenty-two pound bag. Also, because of the recent airline scares, we are only allowed one article of carry-on baggage each, no bigger than a laptop bag.
Initially, I thought we were allowed TWO fifty-one pound bags each and I was shocked to discover that the cost of extra weight was over forty dollars per extra kilogram (2.2 pounds). I immediately started scouring our belongings to see what we could do without and we began to talk about whether or not we should try and bring the computer. As the days passed we found out that the baggage allowance was less than we’d originally thought and then two days ago came the final consensus as mentioned above. The final blow brought me to tears, but I figured that there MUST be some way that I could reduce our belongings to a total of one hundred and twenty-four pounds plus three small carry-ons. Thankfully, we found a reliable way to ship one bag through a service that CBN-India uses so we will send one fifty to sixty bag to Scotland at $4 a kilogram—reasonable, especially considering the alternatives: overland mail that costs about that, yet is less reliable and takes months, or the airline’s insane over-weight cost.

togethernessFriendship and togetherness: what truly matters in life.

So once again I find myself sorting and trimming down our belongings, actually finding some joy in the act of keeping our belongings to a minimal. Yes, one day I’d love to have a house of my own, preferably a cottage with lots of character, some trees and a garden. Perhaps it would have a brook or river nearby and be a place where I can have friends in for tea and pumpkin brownies and where our children can play outside making up games of their own imagination; a place that I can decorate with my grandmother’s china and great grandmother’s French jade clock and have a bookshelf filled with delightful books. I admit I’d like some stability and roots. Yet, in times like these, I am reminded of those things that are truly important in this world: family, love, children, relationships, togetherness, peace, joy. These are things that will matter beyond this age, beyond the ages. And as I choose to yet again cut down my wardrobe, I am reminded of Matthew 6:19-21; 25-33. Some excerpts from this passage state: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…Do not worry…what you will eat…nor about your body, what you will wear…Look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them…Consider the lilies of the field…Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…will He not much more clothe you…Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Somehow I find joy and relief as I let things go, remembering once again that this world is not our home. We are pilgrims with a far greater destination.

5 Responses to “Trimming Down”

  1. Sarah
    September 24th, 2006 08:57

    Wow, Rachel, not only are you packing for yourself, but for a whole family! I thought it was hard a few weeks ago when I packed everything I could into two suitcases to move from Bethany to my sister’s house in Kentucky! So, I feel your pain. 🙂 Enjoy your last month in India! 🙂

  2. Tara Hills
    September 24th, 2006 14:00

    I’m welling up with tears as I think of you…I know how it feels Rachel. Ryan air was 1 bag of 44 pounds, one carry of of 22. And no allowance for Eden. I can really relate and I’m praying with a unique understanding, atleast in part, for this trial and the beauty God is working in your hearts that will last far beyond this ‘mist’. We’re for you and cheering you on as you make this last lap in India and then enter a time of transition…someday, if not this side of heaven, then someday soon nonetheless, I will gladly come over for pumpkin brownies and steaming tea and we will laugh and cry sweet tears for Who He is and all He has done.

  3. Ginger
    September 25th, 2006 16:00

    Hi Rachel! When I am painfully cutting back I like to think about the new things I will eventually buy to replace the things I couldn’t keep. God is so generous, I have never had nicer clothes in my life! (or paid so little for them 🙂 )

  4. Rachel
    September 26th, 2006 02:11

    We’re really in the line of work in which we have to hold everything lightly, aren’t we? Thank you for the sympathy and your hearts. And Ginger, you’re so right in the way God is so good at providing what we need beyond what we can even imagine.
    I found out some good news yesterday–British Airways just switched their carry-on bag size from laptop size back to the standard size–Hooray!

  5. nona
    October 5th, 2006 10:54

    Rachel, you are getting to be quite a pro at this! With your heart in the right place and your mind set on Him you will know what needs to stay and what needs to go…..waiting with such eagerness to see you again. God’s protection for you as you all travel so many miles….love as always

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