It’s been a long time since I was the frantic person at the airport, desperately pawing through her suitcase looking for what can be left out so she doesn’t have to pay overweight fees.
I knew when I did the final weigh at home that my suitcase would be overweight, and I was willing to pay it. But at check-in there was confusion and disagreement about how my bag should be charged. No one got upset or nasty (it is the South, thankfully), but I did cry. In the end, I was the frantic person in the corner pulling out things I hoped I could live without for five months until I came home for Christmas break.
I had spent hours planning and organizing what I would take. With about 20 pounds of medication and supplements to finish out my Lyme treatment taking up precious weight and space, every ounce and inch left mattered. A lot.
A pair of gloves I had gotten in Nepal made the final cut.
They are black and lined with warm felt. And they perfectly fit my microscopic hands. Of course, I knew I could get gloves in Lithuania – it’s a cold country. But would they fit? And I really like these gloves. Plus, I already had them and I hadn’t worn them once in the three winters since moving to Chattanooga. It pained me to buy things I already had that I might not use again once I returned home. The gloves would go.
After pulling a few things out, my suitcase came in right at 50 pounds. Once through security I had a chance to catch my breath and began to wonder what I had actually taken out. I knew my favorite jean skirt was no longer with me (I should have just put it on over my pants). And the textbook for the comp class I’ll be teaching was in the bag headed for home. But I really wasn’t sure what else.
Once I arrived in Tallin, Estonia, and couldn’t find my nail kit, I knew it hadn’t come along. This alone is a testament to my state of mind. I take that thing with me on every trip, even a weekend trip, I would never have rationally chosen to leave it behind. (I’m not fanatical about my nails at all, but I hate snags.)
Over the course of the next week and half as my cousin and I traveled through the Baltics, I kept coming across one glove. Just the one. I began to suspect that it was the only one. I knew in my original packing I had them together, and if I could only find one then it was probably the only one.
It was. Just one glove.
After all that, only one glove made it. What am I supposed to do with just one glove?
Sometimes life feels like just one glove. No matter how much planning and preparing we do, life happens. We get sick. We lose our job. We get another one. A family member gets sick. A relationship ends. Another one begins. The unexpected happens. Over and over, and over again.
In the midst of this crazy and unpredictable life, we do the best we can. And that means sometimes ending up with just one glove.
Yet in these one glove moments, my faith in strengthened. I rely on God to get me through. I remember the family and friends supporting and cheering me on. I am reminded that I am not alone – I didn’t get here alone and I will not enter the future alone. I am not entirely self-reliant, nor should I even try to be.
One glove can only do half the job. Maybe it’s time for me to stop trying to be both gloves and accept the “gloves” extended to me so often if I would only notice them.