Take Nothing for the Journey

Take Nothing for the Journey

As I write this, I’m finishing my packing for a 15-day trip to Shetland and the Highlands. I’ve been planning it for months and the day has finally arrived. It’s going to involve a series of plane, ferry, train, and bus trips, so I made up my mind that I was going to do my best to pack only a carry-on bag.

This is a challenge for someone who regularly takes a couple bags of stuff to work every day. I love to have options! I can identify with the Victorians and Edwardians and their trunks, boxes and bags for a weekend in the country.

By limiting the stuff I have to carry, I’m hoping to be able to see more, do more, have fewer things to worry about, and focus on what I truly need. If I can do it for two weeks, maybe I can take a hard look at the clutter at home when I return and simplify there as well.

A good friend gently reminded me that when Jesus said, “Take nothing for the journey,” he meant considerably less than even my slimmed-down carry-on bag. He certainly didn’t have to worry about packing electronic devices and all their cords and adapters. So, while I have a long way to go to reach the standard set by Jesus and Francis, I’m at least taking a first step.


About the Author

Diane M. Houdek is Digital Editor for Franciscan Media as well as an editor in the book department. She is the author of Lent with St. Francis, Advent with St. Francis and Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy. She is an avid knitter and spinner and shares her home with four rambunctious dogs. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she has tried her hand at urban farming and a host of other pursuits and hobbies.
  • George Ferguson ofs.

    Dear Diane, I hope you enjoy your trip to Shetland and the Scottish Highlands. Your blog reminded me of my fact finding trip to Kenya and Tanzania back in 2006 when I visited HIV/AIDS projects over 9 days. I too had a small rucksack that had 9 days of clothes in it.
    I met some amazing people in both countries, both patients and carers. Although it was over 7 years ago that visit and the people I met will remain in my heart always.
    In Kisumu one of projects was under the guidance of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who did sterling work with families affected by HIV/AIDS. Some 18 months later they were under siege during the riots that affected Kenya in January 2008. Thankfully the sisters survived.
    Wishing you a good journey, knowing that you will enjoy the Highlands,
    George Ferguson, ofs