Packing, traveling, and small prayers
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
In the past, by planning carefully, I tried to anticipate every need that could possibly come up while traveling. The result was a collection of heavy luggage.
Recently when I began to plan for an extended trip overseas, a thought occurred to me. I recalled Jesus' saying "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" Jesus went on to say, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:25, 33).
I wondered how I could seek the kingdom of God while traveling.
Reading "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, I found the statement "Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously" (pg. 392).
A porter is someone who opens the door of a building and either allows visitors in or stops them at the threshold if they aren't welcome.
But if I thought of myself as the porter who carries luggage and packages, wouldn't the scrutiny be on the kind of thought I was preparing to bring in? I wondered. Am I planning sufficiently for what I will be thinking while on my trip?
I knew there would be periods of waiting - waiting in line, waiting to board, waiting to be served. Could I plan to spend that time in contemplation of God's goodness, instead of fuming, worrying, or just daydreaming?
I decided to copy into a small notebook short quotations from the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings.
Throughout the trip I pulled the notebook out of my pocket and took a few moments to gratefully acknowledge God's provision by recognizing the courtesy of a ticket agent or the kindness of a fellow passenger. These are expressions of love.
Midway through the trip, I was waiting for a connecting flight, reading my little notebook. I enjoyed a peaceful awareness that God was near. Leaving my belongings with my friends, I entered an airport restroom, alone. When I looked up into the mirror, I noticed two young girls come in.
One stood in front of the door and seemed very nervous. The other came uncomfortably close to me, speaking a language I didn't understand. When I told her this, the girl immediately switched to my language. She made some polite conversation, then asked me for money. But when I told her I didn't have any, she grabbed the scarf tied around my neck and said, "Then I'll take this."
I wasn't afraid. Instead, it came to me to put my hand gently over hers and, looking into her eyes, comment that she was a very intelligent young woman to speak another language so well. I had the tender feeling of motherhood as I said this, and, surprised, the girl let go of my scarf. I smiled, walked past her, and gently nudged the other girl out of my way so I could exit. She stepped aside.
I didn't tell my friends until some time later. They commented that in the country I was visiting, girls didn't have a lot of opportunities. They sometimes resorted to theft. This didn't excuse what the girls did, but it helped me be unafraid and forgive. Praying that I might be led to do something to meet the needs of girls in that country, I was presented with an opportunity to pay some school expenses for a bright but struggling coed.
My decision to fill small moments with prayer brought protection, as well as grace. I'd learned that prayer is the right kind of thing to carry in thought.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face
shine upon thee, and be gracious
unto thee: the Lord lift up
his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.