I don’t remember where I first heard this, but it is such good advice. Haven’t you ever considered that there is a reason that hotels have empty drawers? And no, it’s not just for decoration or a TV stand. Oh, but everything is organized in your suitcase? Well, I’m sure I am not the only one accustomed to the fiasco of day three when after ten minutes of searching, everything you once had neatly folded and packed is now in a messy heap on the floor, only to be shoved right back into the suitcase. But imagine, had you used the drawers, the stress, time, and wrinkles would have all been minimized.
In an effort to avoid the presumably unnecessary work of unpacking and repacking, we create for ourselves more work and stress along the way, even in the simple things such as finding a pair of socks.
I think I often approach life this way. Maybe it is because I’m in my early twenties and for the past seven years, my life has been a semi-constant state of change. From moving to Virginia, graduating college, working full-time, getting married, moving into a new apartment, finding a new church, getting a puppy, starting PA school, and, most recently, becoming a navy wife, there has been little long-term constancy. (And because of this newest life change, I’ve signed up for never having long-term constancy…whoop, whoop!) The people I am around, the schedule I keep, the responsibilities I uphold, the free time I have… it has all been altered with each of these changes.
And with so much change, it is oh so easy to convince myself that it is not worth it to unpack since my current stay is temporary. As a result, I find myself living life out of a suitcase.
So, what does it look like to live life out of a suitcase? For me, it looks like detachment, loneliness, nose-to-the-grindstone, and, often times, like self-pity. It looks like only being half-present and half-invested in the people around me. I mean, why would I invest the effort to get established or connected when I am probably not going to be around long enough to see any personal return on that investment? It looks like being a spectator of life lived in community, but never a participant.
I can look back and see how I missed out on so many opportunities to build relationships, get involved in activities I enjoy, and serve those around me. I was afraid to unpack and make commitments, extend hospitality, or pursue friendship out of the fear of having to soon repack and leave. However, that fear only created more stress for me along the way, even in the simple things.
Whether you are in a particular situation or season of life for only a month, a year, or even for 5 years, it is worth it to unpack, invest, and create some roots. You may just end up with relationships, experiences, and life lessons that you will take with you wherever you go.
Even if it is hard, always unpack.