Lessons From a Wandering Suitcase

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Image courtesy of winnond and Freedigitalphotos.net

Two weeks ago, an opportunity to be flexible breezed across my day. It was a very planned opp on God’s part, I think. First of all, I should say I thrive on creating and carrying out my plans. Sometimes, though, God has a different agenda for me.

On this day two weeks ago, I arrived at the airport near Destin, Florida, thrilled to have left snow and cold behind. I couldn’t wait to dive into the five day writing retreat I’d planned to attend.

In the baggage claim area I scanned the boxes and luggage riding on the belt. A young man grabbed a suitcase that resembled mine and hurried to join his buddies. I wondered . . . Nah. I continued to wait. And wait. And then the belt stopped moving with two lonely suitcases left on it. Neither of them were mine. My plans didn’t include losing my luggage.

The airline’s customer service representative I spoke to confirmed my bag had indeed made the flight to Florida. My “plans” had just gone . . . well, somewhere, without me.

Then, I considered my present reality. My carry-on held all my electronics, cell phone, and my wallet (with credit card). These could keep me until the bag situation got sorted out. If I couldn’t get it back, it wouldn’t be hard to purchase anything I needed.

Four hours later, my cell phone rang. On the other end, a rather embarrassed young man explained what I already suspected. My suitcase made a three hour trip to central Florida without me. The poor guy drove all the way back to the airport to pick up his bag and drop off mine. My suitcase and I were reunited at about 11:00 that night.

This situation reminded me that life doesn’t always roll according to my well-thought out plans. When it takes a detour, I have a choice in how I will react. I can respond with helpless anger, or I can lean into the twists of the ride. Being surrounded by friends that evening made it easier to laugh about all that had gone awry in my day (and believe me, I had much to laugh at!). It was clear to me that God had a hand in the unexpected circumstances throughout the day. He showed me He was taking care of me, even when things didn’t go the way I expected.

I’m definitely a “go-according-to-the-plan” kind of gal, but when I can’t control my circumstances, I’m learning to flow in the flexibility mode of handling life.

Your Turn: What about you? When have you had unexpected circumstances happen? What did you do?

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8 thoughts on “Lessons From a Wandering Suitcase

    • We’re both works in progress in this area. God keeps reminding me He’s in control. When I rest on that truth, it’s easier to be flexible. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today!

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  1. Upon arriving for my first trip to Bolivia, I was without my suitcase for 4 days. Before we left, I had asked if I should pack an extra change of clothes in my carry on, “Nooooo, you silly newb, of course not!!”.
    NOW?
    EVERYONE is told, point blank, “pack whatever you need to survive in your carry on!!”

    Yes, yes, I did stink. And felt like blech, and stunk. And I smelled bad.
    But? I learned that I have a teensy bit of grace under fire. And I showed it to all the Bolivian friends who felt responsible for the lost luggage. As if they had anything to do with it! Grace, lots and lots of grace. 😀

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    • Oh, Jennifer. God does have the most unique ways of conforming our character, doesn’t He? He gave you the opportunity to practice grace. And I’ll bet you did it well, too. Thank you for sharing your story. It seems like when the unexpected happens, we learn how to move forward, one way or another. Thanks for stopping by today. 🙂

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  2. Jeanne,
    I had the pleasure of watching your gracious attitude during the whole “Where in the world is Jeanne’s suitcase” episode … and the fun of plotting a potential story too! Novelists don’t waste anything, do we?
    😉

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  3. Hi Jeanne!
    I feel like my whole life is an exercise in flexibility. I’m a go-with-flow kind of person who views schedules as the enemy. Somehow, through God’s wisdom, I was blessed with an ADHD child who desperately needs routine and is thrown out of whack by slight interruptions to “the schedule.” (What schedule?) He is teaching me to take small steps toward a more organized life and I am teaching him how to relax, trust, and maybe someday, go with the flow. When I look at it that way, I don’t doubt God’s wisdom in putting us together in a family.

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    • I love your perspective, Evangeline–that God is using you and your son in each other’s lives, to deepen and enrich each other. He knew exactly what he was doing when he gave you your son. 🙂 You are the absolute best mom for him. Thank you so much for stopping by today!

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