Due to some interesting quirks when it comes to insurance and our son’s treatment, I’ve been living with a bag packed, ready to drive across states and not knowing when the next trip will come. I log in to work each day and plan my projects not knowing if I’ll be here for them or on the road. I prepare food for days to come not knowing if I’ll be here to eat it.
It’s really not as bad as it might sound, but it does put me into a very unusual mindset. I literally don’t know what day I’ll get up out of bed and need to grab that bag and hit the road. Everything is so temporary and there’s this feeling of having only one foot in my daily life. You’d think that would be anxiety-inducing, but oddly…it’s not at all. I find I don’t hold onto the minor annoyances at work as much because I don’t have the perspective that I’ll have to deal with them every day…I don’t know that today isn’t the last day before a couple of days off and on the road. I also really see the good things in each day, like spending time with my husband and daughter and dogs or having the time to chat with a friend rather than trying to send a quick text at the gas station. Every day is unwritten suddenly, unknown and waiting for an email from the facility where our son is. Until that email comes…who knows? Anything could happen, so why sweat the small stuff or dwell on the negative and why not make the most of the positive?
When I explained my predicament to my Rebbetzin, she mentioned that this is how we’re all supposed to live as we wait for Moshiach and that’s when it really hit me. Just like so many things have been revealed in this past year that we’ve all had our lives turned upside down with Covid, this is yet another thing that’s always been there but hidden before for me. Everyone’s life is always temporary, always able to be changed at a moment’s notice. We never know which day is our last or which day is the last day before a major change in our lives.
We ALL live with a bag packed, waiting…we just don’t see it.
We all go about our lives as if the way things are today is the way they always will be, taking for granted the good and really blowing the bad out of proportion. It’s human nature. But…if we could only see that today could be the last time we ever talk to that coworker that drones on and on or that family member that pushes our buttons…how differently would we talk to them? If we could see that today was our only chance to do so many things, wouldn’t we jump at it and make the most of it? If we knew that we only had one last day to fit in all our priorities…how differently would we live?
My husband, when I first started riding motorcycles explained a phenomenon to me. I was laughing that someone who had just met me acted as if I was a “real biker” who had been riding all my life when really it had only been a couple of months. He explained that when someone meets you, however you are right then kind of becomes stuck in their minds as “you” and how you’ve always been. So, if they meet you and you ride a motorcycle…then you’re a biker. If they meet you and you have children, it’s like you have always been a parent. You’ve always been with your spouse, always had that same career, etc. This is why it’s shocking sometimes to learn that someone did something you never would have expected years before you met them. A similar disconnect happens when you visit a place you haven’t been to in a long time and find it’s different. In your mind, you expect it to be just as you left it. Our minds trick us into thinking of things as static and unchanging when really? Things are constantly changing all around us. The world we think we live in is gone when we blink and a new one is here in its place. In any moment, we’re each just one choice or situation away from a completely different life.
And that’s why my packed bag is such a gift. I have a unique opportunity to live in a space of taking each day and moment one at a time not knowing when I’m leaving without the sadness of leaving for good. It’s like a taste that reminds me that this is how I should live each day even when there isn’t a bag packed. It reminds me that however good or bad this moment seems…it’s never my ultimate destination. I can’t dwell here forever, it’s just a temporary stopover on my way. I want to hold on to that feeling long after I’ve been able to unpack.
How would your life change if you lived like you had a bag packed?