Remember when summer vacation was from one school year’s end to the beginning of the next school year? As a kid, it seemed like the summer was a long stretch of time for play, relaxation, summer camp, swim lessons, family visits and trips—even across country. By the end of summer vacation, I had somehow grown up enough to be ready for the new school year in the next grade whether it was second grade, 8th, or finally 12th grade.
Now as an adult, summer vacation comes and goes in a flash. I usually have fun, travel a lot to see kids and grandkids, rest a little (maybe not), and I eat too much. Adult vacation is usually defined by being away from work and still being paid. Some say that going barefoot is a sure sign that you are on vacation. Pictures or videos tell the story, too. I just saw my daughter’s pictures of her vacation on Facebook. She and her husband looked so relaxed in the Rockies riding horses, hiking, and taking in the beautiful scenery of Colorado. Now that’s a vacation!
The word vacation is from the Latin word vacare, to be empty, at leisure. I’ve had one week of vacation from work this summer so far—a family reunion in the quiet and beauty of the state park in Indiana where my daughter lives. It was extra-ordinary! “Ordinary” in that 15 of us just hung out together and experienced the rhythms of each day without work pressures cooking and eating together, playing the spontaneous games that broke out with the grandkids, and telling stories about our lives over the past year. “Extra” in that all of us were at leisure and enjoyed being with each other—at least for a few days. One early morning awake before everyone else, I even found a moment of “emptiness” which gave me more space for being blessed by the presence of 14 other people that day.
This summer vacation has taught me to prepare for my next vacation by under-planning and letting empty space fill with a bounty of being with people I love as we tell stories and let the unexpected happen.
How has your summer vacation been or is it yet to be? How did you prepare for vacation (besides the packing preparations)? What will you remember from your vacation in the dead of winter? Did you experience a sense of leisure? Was there a moment when you felt “empty” of all the pressures of everyday life?
Happy Summer Vacation!
by Betsy Perry, Guest Blogger while Doug is on his vacation.