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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

vacation...selfish luxury? hidden blessing? should I stay or should I go now?

Today's Wednesday Festival post comes to us from HotCup Lutheran.  I wonder how many of us have managed vacations thus far in the Northern Hemisphere's summer...perhaps there are those who, like me, have suddenly seen the time growing SHORT and have quickly scheduled something...or perhaps this year it just isn't happening.  

How are you refreshing at this time of year (or are you?)  If not, what are your plans for the next opportunity?  Comment here, or share a link to a blog post.  

Photo source: Stress Free Kids

growing up in the seventies, it was probably the influence of "the brady bunch"... but family vacations seemed the luxury of all luxuries. not once did our family ever take a vacation. but i could picture it in my head... loading up an avocado station-wagon with it's wood paneled sides, suitcases, a cooler, a lovely picnic basket filled with goodies for lunch. which we'd have perhaps at grandmother's out in the country... her lovely garden, huge front porch, lots of pitchers of home-made lemonade. we might swim in the creek, or not. but it'd be fabulous.

and it was in my imagination... no grandmother's house to go to. no station-wagon to pack. but i'd dream and dream of vacations as a child. i went many places. i climbed steps to lighthouses. i collected rocks. i would color away and dream. i would play with dog outside and dream. i would sip lemonade, made from concentrate, and pretend i was sitting in a rocker on a fine old southern plantation porch.

funny how, what seemed as a luxury... now seems like a given. who doesn't go on vacation? when did this happen i wonder, that vacation became a right? feels like it sometimes... we work hard so we want to play hard and squeeze it into our over-scheduled lives.

only that doesn't fit me, not really. i do have the blessings of a flexible schedule, a home office, and i have learned to set time apart. what i perhaps struggle with then, is the physical getting away. is it worth the expenditure of dollars, to physical get out of town for a bit? or is that being luxuriously silly? this is the ping-ponging going on in my brain. i am reasoning it out... is it worth it to be away?

goodness. how blessed i am to even consider it. i went so far as to google vacations you can take with your dog. i mean really?! yeah... i'm crazy that way. but "summer camp" with agility testing and training for fido, while laughable on one hand, is big bucks on the other!! i don't want to leave bailey-bean right now, not really. we're healing up. we're building trust. i did find some B&Bs in not-too-far-away locations that accept pets... *cough cough* but see bailey... well he's huge for one, and he likes to drool... so uh, maybe the place that's a "cabin" would be awesome... we could walk by the river, and the furniture is all leather, so drool would wipe right off!

i listen to the wives of boonieville, wishing, hoping, praying to get out of town. their farmers, who have livestock, who are in ag... stay rooted and afraid sometimes, flat out unwilling at other times to go. i listen to the widows in the nursing home, who tell me, "if there's something you want to go. something you want to do. something you want to see. don't wait. go, do while you're young. sometimes we wait for tomorrow, either it never gets here, or we wait, and it's too late our body/mind won't let us go." i have friends celebrating anniversaries 20 yrs, 30 yrs and they ponder whether they should get away in celebration... "YES" i tell them. either way, 20 or 30 years, that's an accomplishment and you should get away, nourish the relationship, feed the spark etc. etc. and again husbands are reluctant...

i might have to preach about this again. this "come away and rest" thing Jesus is very clear about.

i might head to a lodge for a get-away all my own. there is a spa even... ooh-la-la... what a gift to be able to afford to go. what a blessing to know i can if i want to.  i can go and still pay bills, come home to food in the house, gainful, fulfilling employment, a big drooling dog who loves me no matter whether he gets to come or not. but for now... the imagining is all i'm doing. imagining how rich my life can still yet be, even though it is in so many ways, fuller and blessed far beyond what i hoped for... far beyond what my parent's lives were like.

yet i can hear them saying, "weigh your options kid." the economy is so fragile, agriculture this year with the drought is miserable... harvest will be early and 50 % or less than normal... anxiety is growing... so perhaps, this is the time to breathe deeply, dream a bit, and stay home. perhaps have friends over for dinner. or host a "break-the-heat" bash of some kind. a chance to laugh with friends, listen to them, enjoy them... reach out to them, rather than escape all by myself. oy! what do you think?


  1. Thanks for this. I love vacations. But, I also struggle with the money side of it and when I can fit it in. However, generally, I make the money work. I also have a flexible schedule and a home office but if I am there, I still am available. Vacation, away, is the only way I truly leave my work.

  2. Thanks for this...I thought I was the only one who struggled with this! My family's vacations were visits to the grandparents, and today my vacations are visits to my kids and grandkids...rarely have I ever had what most people consider a vacation, and I long for one sometimes but wonder if I can pull it off at others. I love my time with family, but when it comes to planning a week at the beach, it's always "maybe next year..."

    HOWEVER in a big step for me, I have signed up for BE6.0 and I'm super excited about that!

  3. I discerned early in my seminary education that vacation was part of the spiritual discipline that was necessary for my health. Appropriately managing finances is another spiritual discipline. The two need not be at odds. When I was in seminary in graduate school instead of traditional vacations I will book myself into a retreat center that had student rates or pay-as-you-can rates. I didn't always go for a traditional retreat experience. Sometimes I needed to sleep in and then a lot. Sometimes I took a book that was not religious and not related to my studies and spent the time reading novels.
    With access to more money and time I do book a couple of weeks of vacation a year, in January between the semesters and in the summer. When possible I try to link it up with my professional travel. If an institution is bringing me somewhere then I might add on a date or two or even a week my own expense.
    When the economy crashed I became very concerned about money and went into a reduce spending mode. But I still needed time away. So I looked for places within driving distance. I used some of the websites for cheap hotel rooms and discovered that you can get a really cheap booking between Monday and Thursday. So I drove to places of interest for a reduced rate simply to get away for a day or two.
    I hope you find ways that make sense for you, your family and your budget for me it is a necessary expense, really part of my preventative healthcare strategy.

  4. Aaaah, vacation. I delight in them. Summer vacation was part of the rhythm of my life from the time I was a young child until my second year in seminary almost fifty years later. Now that I'm officially retired and working on agreements I concoct, I take vacations. Sometimes a few days carved out of an otherwise busy week and sometimes one or two weeks. However, I find it difficult and somewhat unsettling if I leave the people I serve at the Homeless Shelter for more than a week. I long for a stay vacation, but if I'm here, I'm there.

    For most of my adult life, vacation often meant going home--to my parents or my husband's parents. I do like that we don't have to do that anymore, but I find myself longing for our two homes and going anyway. Today's NY Times article on Scandinavian cuisine in the Twin Cities set me longing for home and the Minnesota State Fair. Who knows--maybe I'll take a few days in late August and go home to watch the butter sculptor work!!

  5. Krista - in rural ministry, a "stay-cation" is a fine, fine line. Away, and yet not really. It's just like a slower day at the office or something.

    Rev Dr Mom - I too took that big step and signed up for BE6.0 - but let's just say late January seems very far away, but I do look forward to seeing you there!

    Ah... preventative healthcare. Indeed it is. I had not considered this aspect...

  6. Probably a US-Europe cultural difference but I find life without vacation un-imaginable. And I can't see a stay-cation really working for many pastors. (Maybe if you live in a large urban area ?)

    Our new pastor somewhat proudly told a member of our church council that he hadn't taken any vacation in his previous church (he's young...) He will be sent on vacation (I'm guessing his wife will be our ally in this) - because none of us wants to have to deal with burnout.

    Of course vacation doesn't have to mean going a long way or spending a lot. Just drive to another town and stay somewhere cheap. Go to the movies, the museum, do whatever you found restful. (I went away just overnight Sunday to Monday this week, I stayed with friends - we talked, we ate, we walked - it did me a power of good). Not everyone finds rest restful. If that's you, find something active to do. My DH is one of those people. He was getting very stressed and frazzled and ended up developing an ulcer. Then he went to Egypt for 3 weeks with Habitat for Humanity. He came home relaxed, happy and ulcer free - though physically tired.


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