Coming back from vacation I feel like I have recharged my batteries. Even the snow that still blankets the ground here in NW Ohio and the coming new storm promising 4-6 inches more of the white stuff on Wednesday hasn’t depressed me – yet.
The practice of intentionally taking a vacation and scheduling a retreat lifts my spirit.
I sure did enjoy the warmth and the sun of Florida. We visited with family, walked a beach every morning, reconnected with friends and collected new ideas at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
Ever come back from a vacation more tired than when you left? I have but not this time.
I think the secret was a balance of rest and movement. We had fun hectic days and slow relaxing walks. I fed on new knowledge and fresh ideas. I stayed open and took the time to savor God’s wonders of the white sand, the crashing waves and dolphins dancing in the Gulf. The Florida colors exploded in my mind that had been dulled by white cold winter. I awoke from hibernation.
The trip restored my sense of rhythm as I experienced different routines and now returned to the comfort of established habits. Like stretching my muscles after a long sleep, I pushed beyond the boundaries of my ordinary schedule.
The spiritual practice of vacation is most fulfilling when I lightly sample and relish its smorgasbord and not gorge on every possibility.
On Thursday I leave for my annual four-day silent retreat. I found myself this morning falling into the old bad habit of telling God all that we had to accomplish during our time together, forgetting He is in charge, not me. Thinking again about God’s gift to me of being recharged after vacation, I realize that both the trip and the coming retreat require openness to accept what comes.
So I let go of my expectations for this coming weekend, in order to wait for God’s delightful surprises.
Home from vacation, recharged having spent time in God’s wonder and now letting go of my expectations for the coming weekend retreat, I know the truth in the following statement:
He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.
How do vacation and retreats change you?