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On Vacations

July 31, 2009

I neglected to mention in my setup yesterday that one of the key rules of this 30 day project is that it not be self-referential, i.e. talking about the fact that I’m writing every day. That’s a crutch that I’m not going to allow myself.

Part of my recent spurt of imagination stems from the therapeutic effects of a recent vacation. Hold on, you might say, aren’t you marginally employed and recently married? Didn’t you just escape to another island idyll just four short months ago? Yeah, but.

Vacations, by definition, force you to leave all of your normal day-to-day existence behind at the airport, to be picked up at baggage claim along with your luggage. Even the leash of a Blackberry can be severed (as it was in my case) by wonky cell signal and the urge to throw the damned thing into the crystal blue ocean like a Corona commercial. You exist as Yourself Minus; minus job (haha), minus extra-curriculars, minus most friends, minus your cars, house, and possessions that wouldn’t fit in the Samsonite. It allows you time and clarity to see yourself as you are without those things. Which, strangely, is not nearly as pretentious as it sounds; it’s merely comfortable in the way that staying in bed on Saturday morning is comfortable.

A brief moment creased the armor of this particular vacation, a phone call informing us that a tree had fallen on our car, followed by a second call downgrading the crisis to small branches on our more sturdy vehicle. The sheer panic of an unexpected Responsibility encroached and receded, and was forgotten except as a funny story to tell over rum drinks.

I’ve never been one for vacations. When I leave a job, I always have excess vacation days remaining, sometimes weeks worth. In the seven years since I graduated from college, I’ve taken the odd extended weekend here and there, but the only real vacation I’ve had was my honeymoon in March. Having two trips close together has implanted the importance of these breaks. As much as we all pride ourselves on work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile, we also serve a God who ordains rest. As thirty taps me on the shoulder and hands me its business card, I’m starting to see the wisdom in rest and reset.

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