Vacations are the best, and the worst. The beach in summer, the mountains of autumn, a cruise ship when it’s not hurricane season, the ski slopes in winter, and so, so many more. The options are endless, even when the resources are not. But vacations are vacations because you are out of your routines. It could be the routine of where you live. Just being somewhere else is enjoyment enough. Staying somewhere different changes everything. The food tastes better, the tv shows are more interesting, bedtimes are optional, puzzles somehow are inviting, even the dishes are better than your ordinary ones. One of the things I love is driving to the destination. Along the way, I get to flip the radio stations and discover songs being played I haven’t heard in a long time. Classic country, or some rock songs from my youth, or even the pop stuff from the 70s, it all sounds better when going on vacation.
But vacations don’t help at all if you’ve been trying to eat good, or if you’ve got a workout routine, or if you have a particular morning schedule. Sure, you can be careful with your meals, and exercise is possible in a myriad of forms, but vacations have a way of eroding the resolve and changing the priorities. Enjoying the moment, treating yourself and others to what you usually consider extravagant pleasures, sleeping at odd hours of the day (and night), all of these seem to be part of the arrangement when you take on a temporarily new address. And so, I think it’s pretty obvious how one could make a spiritual application to being on vacation and letting certain good things fall by the wayside. But beyond that predictable point, I want to highlight one other facet of vacation.
Being away awakens within us a joy and pleasure that the rigors of daily life beat down. Responsibilities of work and issues within the home do not necessarily disappear, but vacation allows us to focus on something different, something more permanent than a career and a tidy home. Vacation turns our heart in a fresh direction, quickened by new surroundings and unique opportunities. And God is there amidst it all. The trick is to see and experience Him when your old zip code returns. And that requires some effort on your part. Choices have to be made, to do and to not do. Joy has to be prized and grasped, and defeat and discouragement left to die on their own. Vacations are the best. They only become the worst when we don’t bring them home with us, when we save the joy and contentment for strangers out of town. So, take a vacation, right where you are. Break a routine, choose a different reaction, enjoy what you have been abundantly blessed with. You don’t need to pack up and go to get the best of what God has for you.