A few things to decide -- which books, which sweaters, which kitchen knives should make the trip to Italy? Heavy winter coat? No. Winter nightgowns? No. I travel a great deal and so tend not to over-think the packing project. I keep my suitcase packed most of the time with things that don't wrinkle, so all I have to do is put in fresh underwear and my medicine and I'm outta here. It is true that there are things I own to which I don't have access on the road. Once in a while -- once in a great while -- I've wished I had something I've left at home. Actually, I don't remember when that last happened, but surely it must have done.
But a whole year? Surely some panic is appropriate in packing for a whole year?
Nah. What we have, we'll have. What we don't have, we won't. We'll have something else. All will be well.
Knowing that the Lord will provide is not the same thing as knowing in advance what will happen. "All will be well" doesn't mean "All will be as I think it should be" or "All will be as I planned." We don't necessarily receive our own desired solutions to things. What we sometimes get instead is the ability to manage beautifully with something else altogether.
It is good to give some thought to "All will be well" and "The Lord will provide." Usually, they are more brisk and invigorating than they are soothing: they lead us into new territory. They give us courage in unfamiliar surroundings, and they call on our creativity, which always makes us more creative. Some of the most important things that happen in a person's life happen as a result of things not going according to plan. It's a great gift.
What doesn't work, when a plan breaks down, is trying desperately to cling to it. Sometimes I've just got to give it the last rites and shoot it in the head. This can hurt, but not nearly as much as propping up my own failed regime.
Coming to the Buon Viaggio potluck for Barbara and Q on July 26th? Here's the key:
If your last name begins with A-D, bring an appetizer/snack food.
If your last name begins with E-H bring a salad.
If your last name begins with I-L, bring a vegetable or fruit side dish or crudités.
If your last name begins with M-U, bring an entree.
If your last name begins with V-Z, bring a dessert.
If you can't work within your category, bring something else.
If you can't bring anything at all, don't.
The Lord will provide.
But you still must let us know you're coming: thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.