The box hits the floor with a thud. My knees replicate as I bend over my chest full of treasures, sorting through the memories.
Notebooks, photos, copies of important documents, journals, foreign currency.
This is my box of travels. In it contains enough nostalgia to leave me aching for the places I’ve been. I should know better than to open it on a night like this, when my heart is already full of longing and me eyes already close to brimming. But….
I just needed to remember.
I pour through the journals filled with stories that I can’t believe happened to me: spending the night in an African hospital, witnessing salvation among unreached peoples, flying into the most dangerous city in the world.
I scan over the pictures that have already been permanently etched into my brain, and my favorites are the ones of the children with eyes full of hope – they remind me of Jesus.
I will be the first to admit that I am a packrat, so yes, those copies of vaccinations and passports, boarding passes, immigration forms – those have all found a place in my box as well.
It’s funny how much of a stronghold these material objects can have on me. I run my hands over the worn cover of my Swahili language book and am taken back to those mornings I spent studying it in a mud hut on top of a green Kenyan mountain.
Don’t even get me started on the foam frames covered in glitter and Bible verses, handmade by my precious Honduran sponsored child, Marlon.
Waves of recollection and reflection makes my stomach feel empty and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I close my eyes, rejoicing in the revival of the best moments of my life, yet broken that the contents of my box are the closest thing I will ever have to those times again.
I place each item back in the trove of the gold of this traveler’s heart, memorize those feelings that they conjured. I bask in them. And as I close the lid once more to my adventures, I feel Jesus whispering to me,
“This is only the beginning.”
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