Taking a Holiday?

The summer season is upon us. For some that will mean a holiday. Or will it? Will it actually mean carrying with us all the burdens of our life to wherever we go for a break? Will it mean checking the phone for emails/texts/WhatsApp messages? Ultimately, will it mean a struggle to switch off?

I’ve recently read an article called, ‘Why Driven People Suck at Vacations’, and it made me think. I am someone who enjoys holidays once I’m there, but I can never muster up much enthusiasm beforehand and it takes me quite a few days to truly unwind. I know that some people will not be able to understand my struggle, those people who find holidays easy.

On holiday, all of a sudden, you are thrown into a completely new environment and you’re meant to be enjoying yourself. We’re also led to believe that holidays are for rest. Isn’t that what everyone says? ‘Have a good rest.’ I now realise that for me, whilst rest is part of a holiday, it is not the whole story.

Rest: I do need to disconnect and rest from the normal round of life. And that is more difficult today in our hyperconnected world. For me a rest from work means no checking work emails, leaving devices at home and no preparation. But I’ve learnt that it doesn’t mean not reading a stimulating book alongside some relaxing novels, or taking the opportunity to share my faith. Rest yes, but not denial of the things that stimulate me.

Relational renewal: Praying on holiday used to cause me problems. I wanted a break from my normal pattern, but all too easily that became doing something less than satisfactory. Now, I have found some different daily offices that I can easily carry with me on my kindle (some technology cannot be left at home)! It is a simpler form of praying and it doesn’t take long, and it is renewing and inspiring. Holidays after all do originate from holy-days.

Re-creation: We are all different in what recreates us. I enjoy doing things that are not the sort of things that I usually fill my working day with. My husband has become adept at finding and creating cycling holidays (on the flat), something that we both enjoy and something that I really miss when we come home. I dream of being able to cycle everywhere without having to get in and out of a car all the time, but we’re all wired differently.

Of course we each have to find what makes holidays work for us. For some of us lying on a beach all day just won’t do it. But perhaps we can learn to rejoice in who we are and find ways to ensure that we still rest, renew our relationship with God and those closest to us, and enjoy some re-creation.

Kate - ‘with Thanks and acknowledgements to James at CPAS’.

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