This Little Light of Mine

"To whom much is given, much is required"

My Empty Suitcase


My suitcase mocks me as I walk by it everyday.

Those who know me and my eagerness to pack for vacation kind of snicker and go on their way when they spot my suitcase open on the floor of my bedroom.  They realize that it’s part of that anticipation thing I have going on. Sometimes I think I enjoy the packing more than the trip….not really but there is enjoyment!

Tickets have been purchased for our trip to Haiti in October.  There lies my suitcase, open on the floor.  Nothing is in it!  That is indeed unusual for me.

Traveling to poverty stricken countries is nothing new for us.  Usually Joe and I take these trips as part of the working crew for a mission trip medical team.  Joe handles logistics and I prepare the food.  We wear work clothes and leave some behind for those we help.  We are not working continually with those that are being served so the needs are seen but at a distance.  Our work clothes are rather scrubby and what is acceptable we are happy to pass along to those in need.

This trip is different.  We are the mission team and will be actively engaged with the people of Haiti.  I anticipate that as we work with the children and their parents we will be all too happy to part with everything we have to help them.  I know that as a fact by one of my favorite memories.   On a previous trip one of the doctor laughed on the way home that he lost track and gave away all his underwear!

So what do I pack?  I find it rather interesting what goes through my mind as I process things.  “No, don’t take that, it’s your favorite dress with special memories!” or “I wonder what kind of trinkets I can find to take.”  As well as ” I think I will find some pretty plastic lace tablecloths to take for the ladies.”  I was on the wrong track and I knew it!

Today I finally broke through all that and realized that where I was going the people can hardly feed their families.  Clothes only come when absolutely necessary and discarded clothing at that.  The picture of a little boy named Maxo flashed before me.  He’s the one who is wearing a girls dress for his sponsorship picture because that is what is available.  

And then I knew!

I don’t know what you would pack but I, with abundant joy, packed my special dress, my new flowered sandals among other new and pretty clothes.   Now I have a happy heart knowing that someone in Haiti is going to cherish my newer clothes.

And me?  I will come home with just one scruffy outfit and I’ll be wearing it.  I don’t plan on leaving trinkets or cheap toys but instead I’m leaving a couple of 3rd world country irrigation kits for their gardens and yarn for the ladies to crochet things to sell so they can feed their families.

My suitcase is now looking pretty full, kinda like my heart!   Hmmm, I wonder if Haiti allows garden seeds through customs.  I bet I can find some place to squeeze them in.


Author: Pat

Born 1946 to Southern parents. Grew up in the NW but lived most of my life in the Mid West. Wife, mother, cook, caterer, college food service director and am now retired from my professional life.

4 thoughts on “My Empty Suitcase

  1. Pat, you are gifted in so many ways. Your heartfelt writing is but one of your many talents – very well said.

  2. Pat, I am so glad to read your blog. It helps me to know you better and appreciate your willingness to help help those who are content with so little.

    • Thanks, Christine, for you note. It is fun to get to know people through stories. My family were always great storytellers. I remember many nights going to sleep in my Grandmother’s house listening to the family stories being spinned on through the night. Rarely could I stay awake long enough to hear them all. Wish I still remembered them all but I’ve forgotten many of them. Oh well!

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