Sunday, March 3, 2013

What's in Your Suitcase?

I wonder if the airport's stern-faced security scanner guards picked up any clues from my luggage as to where I was headed. Did they see the slither-down-the-wall globs hiding among the underwear? Or the coloring book tucked between my sweatpants and pajama bottoms? Maybe the two different sized ziplok bags were a hint. Oh, surely they would have known if they would have read the directions for making water bottle lava lamps. And that new box of Uno cards would have been a dead give-away.

All packed up and loaded with love, I jumbo jetted my way to two precious boys who call me Nana. I arrived after their tousled heads were slumbering for the night, but I couldn't wait for morning to see them; I had to peek in on their angelic sleep poses and kiss their dreamy faces.

Ian shared his bedroom with me. I on his bed and he camping out on the floor during my stay. His younger brother Dominic woke up too early in the morning to be a good roommate choice and I thanked my daughter for her wisdom in deciding my lodging arrangements. The following three days flew by as I soaked up Nana time.

We colored and stenciled. Then drove trucks and cars on imaginary highways where no road rules applied and traveling between the library and post office were only a foot apart on the colorful rug village. Dominic and I hid in closets or behind doors while Ian counted haphazardly to the right number and then came to find us. Some how monster truck apps popped up among the word games and weather apps on my tablet. My exercise walk stepped up a notch as I pulled the wagon carrying Dominic behind me. Ian sailed by us on his bike, knowing only one speed-FAST.

The ziplok bags aided our ice-cream making and the lava lamps were definitely a hit. (See here for the recipes.) Ian caught on to Uno quickly and I lost track of how many games I endur...,or rather we played.:) Win or lose he was set to play again.

We bundled up one day in sweatshirts and hats and drove to the beach so Nana could breathe in the salty air, feel the white sand between her toes and relish the sound of surf.  Although the water was too cold to even wade in, we welcomed the sun's cheeriness and sought it's warmth with upturned faces. I prayed that someday I could live close to a place where sand meets ocean. It's beauty will always allure me.

                                                                 Mommy and Dominic

Bedtime ritual included stories, songs and a family hug. Dad was on his second time around of reading the Bible story book and Ian knew what the story would be about, listening with interest. The stories are being passed down again, the same ones I heard in the rocking chair with my dad and the same adventures I read to Ian and Dominic's mom and her siblings. His-story, where faith starts and hearts are imprinted with the unchanging Truth. Where the God of creation makes himself known to the ones he created, so they can see his faithfulness, grace and love from the very beginning and believe in him and his gift of salvation.

I'm so thankful God created family. How hard the enemy works to destroy this precious unit. Family is the embodiment of intimate relationships, beginning with husband and wife, and becomes the container for training his children in the way they should go. But none need be left out, even if this intended haven failed, was torn apart or in dysfunction. God redeems, restores, adopts, makes up for and heals so there are no homeless in his spiritual family. In fact scars are marks of valor and weaknesses are badges that boast of the Father's grace and mercy to make good out of what was maimed or discarded as hopeless.

I left my grandsons with a lighter suitcase, but a fuller heart of thanksgiving, joy and memories. Those airport guards saw only dirty underwear, sandy flip flops and emptier ounces of toiletries this time through the scanner.  But if they were paying attention they would have noticed the addition of a foam picture frame decorated with hearts and bows that held two handsome faces of grandsons snuggled flat for safe keeping inside my tablet case and the date balls my daughter created and stuck in a baggie for my journey home.

Yes, indeed, what's in a suitcase holds stories coming or going.  May any packing you do be filled with everything good.


  1. Ruth, I love this! Your descriptions are so vivid and paint a wonderful picture. I especially like your thoughts about family being a container for training us as God's children.

    I have two young adult children, both in college, and am learning how to be an empty-nester! Apparently I won't be a Nana for a looooong time!

    BTW I used to work in a library - fun times! I got my certification last year as a Spiritual Director,and I facilitate a DivorceCare group at church, so I was interested to see you are a conflict coach. Do you work with married couples!

    I found you at Spiritual Sundays and look forward to reading more of your Blog. I'm just getting started with mine :-)


  2. Oh what precious words. What memories you made for them--and for you!

  3. Love this! Our suitcases in life say so much about us. Thank you for sharing your precious words.

  4. This is a lovely story and I do hope my suitcase with its Bible is a give away

  5. BEAUTIFUL sentiments about family! Enjoyable post :)


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