This past week has been spent hanging out with my family in Key Largo, Florida. I was looking forward to it because I had visions of me on a lounge chair with my book. For a busy mom and educator, that is the epitome of rest embodied. In point of fact, I have done some of that this week and it was wonderful. Punctuating the moments of rest have been flurries of activities including road trips in the rain, exercise in the morning, boat rides, golfing, snorkeling in pools and ocean, game playing, minimal cooking, animal watching, reading aloud to others, singing, preaching, and HIIT class with both parents. What I have come to realize is that vacation is that balance of activity and inactivity. If it was all lounge chairs and books, I would miss the opportunities in front of me that are particular to the place I am gifted to reside in for a few days. If it was all activity, I would feel exhausted by the doings rather than the simplicity of being. For me, the perfect vacation is a blend of frolic and hammock. Mostly, it is the freedom to choose what to invest in that feels life-giving.
In any given normal week, the routine is what it is: regimented waking with associated meal prep and everyone out the door to catch the bus by 7:30am. Teaching during the day, and back to the house to do further meal prep and get to sleep at a regimented time such that everyone is functional to do it all again the next day. I feel pretty blessed to have a vocation that is social, creative, stimulating, and most days pretty fun. I am grateful to have a husband and kids that I enjoy being with. I get to live in an incredible part of the country that offers beauty and recreation right outside my door. Even so, the normalcy that is good can feel stale. The beauty of this time in Key Largo is the complete departure from the usual. It’s that change of pace that jogs me back into wonder and delight. It’s like a week of sabbath.
I think the whole point of God’s giving us a day of rest (or week in some cases) is to get us off of the hamster wheel of normalcy so that we get to be reminded of goodness and beauty. We creatures are easily absorbed into the work we have been given to do that we can miss the play. My take home from a rich Key Largo time is to protect my sabbaths, and let them become the rejuvenating experience thay were intended to be. It is not that I have to rest from activity to enjoy them fully, but rather live into the freedom to choose how to spend the time. With that, I now turn to my book and the final day of vacation in Florida before me. Happy Thanksgiving!