have a large canvas tote – I’m sure you’ve seen one, off-white with blue strap handles. This morning I packed it with items I needed to take to church. Its contents:

1. Two loaves of bread, for it was communion Sunday, and I was responsible for bringing the bread;
2. One can of frozen grape juice, see above;
3. One box of envelopes and blank paper, for a project for our Kids Church;
4. Two bottles of lactolose (a heavy-duty laxative) left over from my Mom’s illness, for a friend whose husband now (sadly) can use it;
5. One air cast, returning it to another friend – she thought I might have been able to use it when I broke my leg 18 months ago (but alas, my feet are much too big);
6. One bread knife, to cut #1;
7. Needles and a thimble, to help tie a quilt after service.

As I was packing the canvas tote into the back of our Li’l Guy, I couldn’t help but think of its first use, some 20+ years ago. My then-husband and I purchased several canvas totes at the local Boats U.S. store in Annapolis, Maryland, where we docked our 42′ sailboat. We used them to transport food, ice, towels, foul weather gear, bedsheets, propane, and other sailing-related goods from our home to the boat.

I didn’t pack the bags for sailing, though – I wasn’t competent. I didn’t purchase the food, or select the sheets, because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t pack the bags into the car, because that was beyond my capabilities, and it had to be done right. I was just generally inept – at least according to my husband Bob.

There’s a stark contrast between my life then and my life now. An unknowing observer may be envious of someone carrying a bag full of sailing goodies, and might pity the person carrying a bag of air casts, lactolose and bread. How wrong that observer would be!

My life today is full and good, despite my Mom’s recent death, despite my recent broken leg and lingering complications, despite a life that’s far from perfection. My partner Don celebrates my competence, and I spend more time (although not enough) trying to be helpful.

And as for the canvas tote, I think it, too, is happier.