historical fiction

A minimalist packs the essentials

I found something else that must be contrary to my nature.

Awhile back I mentioned C.S. Lewis’s observation that keeping the constraints of time does not come naturally to humans.

I believe it was him who also said that we were not designed to say “goodbye”, thus the extreme pain that comes from separation. I love his profound insights.

Maybe C.S. Lewis would nod his head in agreement with my profound thought—

Packing is against my nature

What a bother!

Packing is misery. Does anyone agree? Before our recent camping trip our son said, “packing is one of those really stressful things.”

Not only is it stressful, but I am just not very good at it. My nature longs to let go, shed, travel lightly—simply—be a minimalist. Packing requires organizing which is beyond my ability, also. It is only in the last few years that I have consistently remembered to even grab a coat. I probably would have died without my husband’s reminders.

My daughter is good at packing and lately I have been calling her “Patty-Pack-It”. She must get the gift of preparedness from her dad.

Little Miss Patty Pack it

Little Miss Patty-Pack-It

A couple of my friends amaze me with their packing abilities, too.

Pattys—both of them.

How do they expertly organize so much stuff in such a short amount of time? I nearly go into a panic! I have to take deep breaths and pray—especially when My Man plans a last minute trip.

Pack and be spontaneous? Horror upon horror!

The problem may be that our family takes quite a bit when we go camping; we are not usually minimalist campers.

Traveling light

We rarely travel light

Loads of beautiful, tranquil, minimalist campsite pictures float around these days on social media. How realistic is that for most people? They act like it is righteousness itself!

I think those minimalist campers must begin to minimize by leaving their families at home.

There is a chance I might do exactly that, slip away into the “simple” with just my backpack, a book and our dog—straight to the hot springs.

Hot springs calling

You can find me here

No, so far I haven’t abandoned ship and, with God’s help, I continue doing my best to pack with my husband and children in mind.

Marshmallows and flashlights alone don’t cut it…My Man and kids need an outlet for all of their combined energy. The outlet is hobbies, and those hobbies require stuff.

hobbies and racing tires

A lot of stuff…technical, mechanical, navigational…all contrary to my nature

We finally get all of those things packed, forgive any grumpy words or tension, and get on the road. After reaching our destination, settling in and recreating a home, the rewards start coming.

On our latest trip we had double the energy with El Jefe and his grandson along. I mentioned before that he and My Man are cut from the same cloth—huge amounts of energy all bundled up!

That energy made for a very fun time, as it has on many past adventures. This time we explored over 300 miles of Nevada desert roads. I was very content as a passenger; My Man didn’t even need me to navigate!

It is a blessing every time he hauls me along.

Give me the desert, open trail or open road and all the packing is worth it.

Faster than camels


So, were we designed by God to be packers? Sometimes, maybe—filling the earth requires a level of travel and packing.

Packing up and leaving was a consequence for some…with Cain, and at the tower of Babel. But with Abram, he was asked to show faith through packing and going, and the packing came with a promise. Abram had a lot to pack and he was seventy-five years old!

I wonder what Sarai’s thoughts were as they loaded their beasts of burden and hit the road?

Yaks Nepal

Obey and go

Laborers of the gospel were asked to go as minimalist travelers. God’s Word was The Essential.

Either way, the reward comes with obedient travel on the path given to you.

Three powerful words: “I will go”.

The creatures obey and don’t seem to mind the packing

No travels plans, the woodrats are packing it in

Learn from the ant

Observe the ants—preparing and gathering

Creatures can keep it simple and focus on survival. It is entertaining enough to watch an ant carry a chunk of food—imagine if we could watch them shuffle suitcases and furniture around! No, it is only humans who have been blessed with the extras—the fruits of their labor.

It can be entertaining to watch humans shuffle all their “traps” around, or stressful.

My nature screams, “this is ridiculous!”

High Rock Canyon garage

A garage in the middle of nowhere, an earthly trap, its owner and intent a thing of the past

Is it even okay to have all this abundance and these belongings? This can be a spiritual matter. It is easy to turn hobbies and things into a religion just as easily as turning “simplifying” into a religion.

Smithy, in “To Be Called Mary”, used the same geological sights we saw on our recent desert trip to teach Corrie spiritual truths and maybe we can find our answer:

Smithy described the yellow areas in the canyon as representing the promise of gold when we finally release our earthly traps, all the things we hold onto:

“Heaven’s a place that is unmarred—unlike our earth.”

Heaven won’t be mucked up with all of our belongings—and the shuffling of those belongings.

Ecclesiastes 5:15:

“As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor.”

Simplicity can feel good because that is what we were made for! Getting rid of stuff brings freedom and the feeling that we are closer to our true home.

The tree on the house

A tree quickly cut the ties to this earthly home

But the use of our possessions can feel good, too! There is always balance offered with God, reassurance, found also in Ecclesiastes 5, verses 18-19:

“Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him: for it is his heritage…this is the gift of God.”

In God’s goodness we are blessed with the things we have toiled for. We can pack and unpack them as much as we want. Leave them home or lug them along! Give them away! Bask in abundance or in simplicity! Whichever you do, do it with a thankful heart—giving Him the glory. He should have our first allegiance.

Our treasure should be Him, not our belongings.

Kate Hiller "Bare-Bones-Betty or Patty-Pack-It"

Ok, so which is better? A Bare-Bones-Betty or a Patty-Pack-It? 

That is like asking which is better—a carefree person or an organizer? A Mary or a Martha?

God made both, God loves both and God uses both. Good thing we have both in our family.

cross in the desert

Just make sure God has your heart and you are on His path—He will take care of the travel details

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Well, I am off to finish unpacking from our trip and to put more effort into tidying up our belongings—organizing the camping gear to be ready for the next adventure.

Don’t even get me started on how much I dislike unpacking!

I will do the task with joy and try to remember that I won’t need to pack or unpack when I am called to my heavenly reward—He will do the shedding and lightening of loads. In an instant the trappings will all be gone.

With Him will be abundant simplicity—perfection!

I’ll enjoy the tranquil, minimalist camping pictures and the idea of surviving off of very little because…

I was made to only require the grace of God.

Kate Hiller "Packing Grace"

The suitcase and nonessentials are dumped out, only what we do for Him will last.

2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

C.S. Lewis would definitely nod his head.

Kate's fire

2 thoughts on “A minimalist packs the essentials

  1. I loved this, Kate. Packing is one of my most favorite parts of traveling. Thanks for asking. It is the meal planning which is the most difficult. I hope God relieves me of this stress in the future. Or perhaps I will ask Gavin to take this on. It is a task I am sure he would honestly love.

    1. I am in the same boat meal-wise. I’ll pray for both of us Amanda. I want to continue adventuring and not lose my nerves 😉
      Thanks for sharing xoxo

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