Time Away

It’s summertime. Friends, family, clients and colleagues all talk about their vacations a lot at this time of year. First, planning them and looking forward to them. Then, having them. Finally, recounting them. It’s an annual rite!
I’m just back myself. It really was a great vacation! But what, really, makes a great vacation? The destination? The duration? The companions? All of those matter, of course. And vacationers address those factors as part of the “planning” process.
Then there are the things we can’t plan, such as the weather—at least here in New England! (I’m absolutely delighted to say that last week, the weather was perfect.)
But rather than continuing to analyze my vacation in the linear plan-have-recount manner, this “weather thing” encourages another perspective. Maybe, really, what makes a great vacation is the ability to plan and then to let go. To rest, to relax, and mostly to enjoy DESPITE what may come.
Last year, for example, we had a terribly rainy vacation. Still, we remember it with fondness. And every year, we have the competition of four people wanting a variation on what to do, and when to do it. It happens—and we learn anew each year how to yield and still appreciate. How to try a new activity, or to re-commit to a more patient attitude with one another.
And this “time away” perspective, of course, isn’t just applicable for the few weeks of vacation! Jon Kabat-Zinn entitled his best-selling meditation book:  Wherever you go, there you are. To me, that’s the great punch line of life, not just of vacations! A vacation can’t be expected to provide one or two weeks of enjoyment amidst fifty weeks of drudgery.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you are with YOU. How’s the company?

3 thoughts on “Time Away

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. You made several great points. 1) 1, 2 or (if your lucky) 3 weeks of vacation cannot make up for the other 49 weeks in a year. 2) Wherever you go, you are there and make the best of it. It is really about perspective and being patient and flexible with family and friends (and most of all with LIFE)!

  2. Just today I saw a bumper sticker in the same typeset as the very familiar “I’d rather be sailing” comment. It said, “I’d rather be here.”

    Our job, our solemn responsibility, is to create joy with each other. You get no vacations from that job! It’s 24/7 and the master doesn’t want to catch you goofing off.

  3. Great perspective Mary! I like the way you said it! It’s what life is all about! A great adventure! What makes it more exciting is the fact that God always gives us the grace to find joy in all sorts of things, big and small, complex and simple. Sometimes life difficult but never impossible, just challenging. Have a good day ahead!

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