Vacationing from Vacation

August 10, 2014

Donna Schaper

". . . he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds."Matthew 14:22

The sneaky truth about vacation is how much time "off" goes to what we will do or be when we get "on."   We may say we "live for vacation" but mostly we don't.  Resolutions abound when "away" about "back."  New initiatives emerge.  Four pounds disappear, no matter how much we eat.

Vacation means to vacate, to empty the place where we were to be in another place.  Vacation is one of the last few islands available for reflection now that so much life is taken up with reactivity.

Jesus loved to vacate.  He loved to empty.  He loved to open up the space of the crowds and show them a way to reflective space, one where you can be alone but not lonely, apart but still in community, away from the moment while planning for the moment.

Like many of you I loved watching "Downton Abbey."  My favorite line is when Violet, the Countess, asks her gathered brood, "What is a weekend?"

We may of course accept Jesus' imprimatur on our time "away," on behalf of getting "back." We may demand reflection on behalf of action.  What is a vacation when we love our lives so much that we don't want to separate from them?  Or better yet, how, after this vacation, can the work we do in the world give as much pleasure as its opposite?

Prayer

Empty us, O God, into action and reflection. Save us from reactivity. Let us fully live, and not just on vacation.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.
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