21 Jul Vacation Perspective
I just returned from a vacation to the Canadian province of Quebec. It was a spectacular nine days—a river cruise on the Saguenay Fjord, whale watching (we spotted Minke, humpback and fin whales!), croissants and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) in quantities that should be illegal, hiking by waterfalls, a Montreal loft with the best shower I have ever experienced, afternoon naps, coming to a dead stop for the moose in our otherwise deserted lane of traffic, an organ concert in Montreal’s Notre Dame cathedral, breath-taking sunsets over the fjord and the enormous St. Lawrence River, a cavern (mis)adventure that should never have happened. It was a trip that tantalized the senses, providing a feast for the eyes and palette, and I have to admit I gorged myself on all of it.
There is something indescribably restorative about being near the water. Just seeing it, listening to it, watching the tides flow in and out communicates in a nonverbal language to my soul. I am refreshed. I am reminded that God created a massive, pulsating life force with incomprehensible variety, yet it is all still somehow connected and related. I was also reminded that the world is much, much bigger than the little plot of earth I call home. It was good to have my perspective renewed and comforting to know again that the news in America is not the be all, end all.
But, of course, eventually the vacation ends and it is time to return to my real life. Re-entry is brutal! So many emails to read, piles of laundry to do, an empty ‘frig that necessitates a trip to the grocery store, grass that kept growing while I was away (imagine!), Sunday worship barreling towards me, a blog to write J etc., etc. As one colleague quips, “No good vacation goes unpunished!”
That’s true, but it’s only part of the truth. Both at work and at home, I am blessed to be supported by people who handled emergencies, dealt with problems as they arose, and kept things moving so that I could be away. I am blessed to be able to travel, to see a little sliver of this grand planet that God provided for us, to experience a different language and culture and be “the foreigner” for a brief time. I am blessed to look forward with anticipation to leaving for vacation, but I am also blessed to look forward to returning home. I was glad to walk in my front door last night and be enveloped by my family and my sanctuary. I was glad to come to work this morning. I was even glad to open the newspaper again and begin to get back in the flow of life in the D.C. metro area.
Yes, I have a long “to do” list that awaits my attention, including several matters that are urgent and demand immediate focus. Life does not stop so that I can go on vacation. People in my family and in my church are still dealing with serious illnesses. Some are grieving. A memorial service needs to be planned. Sunday’s sermon has to be written and the bulletin proofed. Things are the same, and yet they are different. I am, at least not yet, frantic over any of it. I still feel the calm of the fjord in my soul, even as I make calls to numerous assisted living facilities, respond to emails, clean out my in-box and start thinking about the new sermon series on Esther that begins Sunday. I breathe and live in the truth that “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) I pray that no matter what your day holds, you, too, will know peace in the midst of it, and rejoice for God’s presence and goodness.
Yours for the Kingdom,