Right now, a man at Disney World is struggling to keep up with his over-energized children. Another is in a national park, preoccupied with entertaining his family at the campground. There’s probably a mother on the beach reading a book next to her teenager, who wonders why anyone would not simply jump in the ocean since it’s right there.
Ideologies clash over anything, even what a vacation should entail. Some yearn to be constantly on the move, while others try to avoid moving at all costs. Living in DC, one sees many tourists throughout the year who try to visit every monument, museum, and food truck they can in a matter of days. They presumably return home more exhausted than before, which begs the question whether this “vacation” was worth much. On the other hand, is it worth the expense to get away from the house simply to do what could have been done from the living room? What’s the point of traveling simply to eat a little nicer food, sleep a little more, or read that novel that’s been sitting on the shelf for months? Isn’t there a more cost-effective way to go about it all? How does one vacation well?
Perhaps we have tensions in our ideas of rest because we’re so unused to the experience of rest throughout the year. Work towers over us, especially with technology that keeps every second accounted for. Cell phones make us easy to find at any point of the day. Online calendars ensure we’ll never miss an appointment. Social media portrays a version of us that screams, “I’m still having fun!” while we go about busying ourselves, all the while keeping a close eye on the clock and thinking of the next place we have to be. Maybe there’s a way of contextualizing our busyness, or at least a way to make it apparent that we’re not as overburdened as we’re prone to think.
Wouldn’t it be something if once a week, perhaps at the start of it, we began the day in prayer? (Let’s say we do this with a group of others at a mutually agreed upon location.) Afterward, we could have a meal at home and truly relax; no cell phones, work, or talking shop. We could solely focus on enjoying each other’s company. After eating something a little nicer, we might have the chance to sleep a little more, read that novel, or enjoy not having to keep such a close watch on the clock. Imagine the tone this would set for the rest of the week. Imagine what an impact it would have on all who took part in this weekly ritual. Imagine how the “busy” schedule of the following week wouldn’t seem so overwhelming!
Image: Frogs on Vacation