This past Sunday, I returned from a four-day vacation. At this stage of life with littles and a busy schedule, it was certainly a rarity. My children were safely stowed with my Mom and sister, I got to spend time with my husband, friends, and attend to self-care in a way that I normally do not. It was wonderful, refreshing, and surprisingly — inefficient?
I know that may sound like a strange word to attach to a vacation, but my hope is that it will be a great encouragement. You see, sometimes we allow an elaborate idea of “vacations” to take on such a sparkle of promise that it devalues the restoration we can create through moments in our day-to-day lives. So, while you would think that a four-day vacation would be more restorative than a one-day vacation, or a half-day vacation, or even a trip to the store by myself on a Sunday afternoon, surprisingly, it wasn’t.
I am not saying this to play down the four-day vacation. On the contrary, I am playing up the value of the mini-vacation — and hoping that creates more value and accessibility for all of us.
Regarding accessibility, vacations (the ones where you get away for days at a time) are very practically tied to privilege. It takes finances, vacation time, childcare, and the mental or physical health required for a trip to have these experiences. And, for those who can, fantastic! Go and share all the pictures! But for those who can’t, I never want you to think that the restoration that happens in the Caribbean is qualitatively different from the restoration that can happen at home. It does not match God’s character to offer this gift to some and not others based on ability.
Regarding value, I think what surprised me most was the restoration I felt after a small bit of time on this vacation was not altogether different from what I have felt at times in my home or community. And, the experience of returning home was very similar to what I’ve felt when my husband took the kids to the Y for an hour or two or how I have felt after taking a shower midday, just to get ten minutes to myself to think.
In our busy worlds of work, raising children or just getting through the aisles at Walmart, we sometimes think, “If I can just push through here, just keep going then I’ll rest.” “If I can just get this dinner made, get through the homework, then I’ll rest once the kids go to bed.” Stop my friend. Stop just for a second. The God who made you knew the life and pace you would live and He made your brain to be your friend. We sometimes think that we need a certain type of break in order to be restored when, in fact, God wired our brains to restore peace in shorter time periods than we realize.
Leaving the packed food aisles at Walmart to go feel the fuzzy fabrics in crafts for a few minutes can let your soul breathe.
Asking your kids to pause the homework they “need” you for and run around outside while you finish dinner can be the difference between enjoying your food and white-knuckling your way through the meal.
Stepping away from your desk to breathe deeply at an office window communicates to your heart and your mind that you are valuable and worthy of rest.
Vacations are not one type of thing, and we are missing out on that benefit if we pigeonhole what they “have” to be. We will not always have the opportunity to get exactly the kind of rest we may want. But, we almost always have the opportunity to take the kind of rest we need through the day-to-day opportunities God allows.
Happy vacation day my friend.
Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash