Have nothing—will travelBy Simeon Dumdum Jr.
Cebu Daily News
Not seven days after the last, we’re setting out on a trip again. This time, however, we won’t be crossing the sea, but driving half the length of the island to a coastal town.
Again the bag must come off the cabinet shelf and be unzipped to admit the clothes, whatever amount thereof we deem sufficient for the journey. They should be few since basically, aside from conversations interspersed with meals—and, yes please, coffee—ourselves (the wife and I) and friends would just be watching the sunset and sunrise, two events bruited about as more spectacular here than elsewhere. And contemplating them, I hope, would require no special wardrobe.
What to take along is always the topic of a friendly debate between the wife and me. I prefer it light, just a pair of jeans and two shirts (any color, same size). But the wife fully understands the import of the phrase, “just in case,” hence includes in the pack things that I judge expendable, but which happen, because frequently “just in case” turns out to be “just the case,” to come out fortuitous.
But really how large should the bag be and what items should one chuck into it?
To the Twelve, whom he sent out in pairs, Jesus gave instructions to take nothing for the journey, aside from a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. Except for the stick, the only concessions were sandals.
Perhaps, and this is not to cast aspersions on the other side, this was because the disciples were men, who normally do not lug heavy trunks when they travel, and, again without suggesting any inappropriateness in pleasure travelling, because their purpose was to preach repentance, drive out demons and heal the sick—the very things done by Jesus, who himself was itinerant and homeless, and who advised his disciples, reminding them of the Father’s care, not to worry about tomorrow.
Modern travel is, of course, not as cumbersome as early travel, which was long-drawn-out and time-consuming, and required such provisions as beddings, food and utensils for cooking and eating, aside from clothes and toiletries. I knew of a family that carried its own mat, pillows and sheets and victuals for just an overnight boat journey to another island, and set up their space among other families similarly equipped, a number of them with an odd fighting cock added to the manifest.
In fact, more than the physical, it is the emotional and spiritual cargo that weighs one down. Easily one can spot the passenger thus burdened. He keeps to himself and would hardly speak to others, and spend the time gazing at something across the sea. He might only have the shirt on his back as possession, but he seems crushed under an invisible load.
I feel that it was to the man’s like that Jesus sent the disciples, to help them unburden themselves, jettison the anxiety and guilt and regain the buoyancy that they had lost, and lower the watermark on the ship that is their souls.
The wife and I may argue as to the merit of carrying this item or that—although when it comes to the choice of food or the color of clothes, there generally is concession. De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.
But ultimately it is what we bear inside us that counts. More than the outer, we should make sure not to overload the inner shoulders.