A peaceful vacation morning. Just me and my coffee, sitting high on a third-story deck on our borrowed beach house, sun shining in the vast blue sky overhead, a brisk breeze blowing in from the Sound across the way. Nothing, it seems, between me and God above.
It’s easy to pray and be connected to God when job and carpools are hundreds of miles away. And when the kids are two stories below, still asleep. For the moment, it’s so quiet that I can hear the breeze, not just feel it.
But it’s more than just the quiet that draws my soul upwards towards God. Vacation brings out the Scarlet O’Hara in me—not the petticoats or arched eyebrow, but the firm conviction that there are times to say, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Unless it’s death or disaster, nearly everything in life can be worried about after vacation. Throwing the everyday sandbags of life overboard, my soul catches the upward wind gust, sailing higher almost effortlessly. Vacation lets me put aside daily distractions and “things to do” and focus on relationships and “how to be.”
The unrestrained clouds skimming across the sky, the powerful ocean endlessly rolling forward—all remind me how huge, unfathomable, and unending is our God. And how the most important thing in my life is to “be” in right relationship with Him, first, and with my family, second.
Vacation allows me that freedom to reflect, to ponder, to be. And when I turn my soul towards the magnificence of God’s creation, it pulls me—as inevitable and unseen as the undertow-- into deeper relationship with Him. Pope Benedict XVI urges us to take vacations and reflect, prompted by “the stirring views of nature, a marvelous ‘book’ within the reach of everyone, adults or children. In contact with nature, individuals rediscover their proper dimension, they recognize that they are creatures but at the same time unique, ‘capable of God’ since they are inwardly open to the Infinite… and open themselves almost spontaneously to praise and prayer.”
It’s true. Way up here, close to the clouds, I can’t help but praise the God who created this beautiful world. Faced with His grandeur, I also can’t help but feel humbled. Who am I, with all my plans and things to do? What matters is that I “be” the person God calls me in love to be. And embracing that, then I will know exactly what to do.
Just in time, too. I hear small voices down below, my tether back to earth. Time to love with all my being….Thanks for the perspective, God. I’ll be back.