Vacation: Interval of Rest

Vacation:  Webster defines as:  “freedom from any activity; rest; esp., a specific interval of rest from work, study.”

An interval means a break in between things. What is meaningful to some may seem like punishment to others.

  • Some families love traveling in a travel trailer for two weeks to see some of America’s beautiful sights; however, others would see this as torturous – the very thought of being trapped in one vehicle for hours on end and sleeping shoulder to shoulder in a travel camp site.
  • Some families love enriching vacations; going to some of the cultural centers of the world, viewing great art, classic monuments at historic locations and fine arts productions. But to others the idea of an “educational vacation” would be no better than a school field trip complete with a research paper at the end.
  • Some families prefer active vacations; going to classic sports venues, watching events, or physically challenging schedules including backpacking, rappelling, sailing or biking. Many would see this as work and not play – this would not be a break, but an arduous task that would require a vacation to recuperate from the vacation.
  • Still others think that if the time away does not require a passport, then it does not count as a real vacation. And, of course, others see the planning, packing and adjustment that is required of international trips as just too exhausting before they ever get started.
  • And there are families who think breaks are for visiting with family in other locations. A time to go home and reconnect–of course, the road is much shorter for the one who moved away to return than it is for those at the old home place to travel to them. Some see this as an obligation rather than a time of rest and restoration.

Such variety of preferences and yet all of them use the term – VACATION.

The goal of a vacation should be to refresh us to get back to the routine with new vigor. Whatever it takes for us to recharge the batteries is the goal. More time resting does not recharge many of us. This actually can decrease our energy. Some of us need some less strenuous breaks so our body can renew itself. At times we need more, or at least different, stimulations of our mind and spirit and choosing an interval of rest may not mean no activity but new and varied activity.

Vacation Planning Considerations:

  • Consider the interest, abilities and needs of all who will be included in the plans. For example, families with a wide range of ages may need to include various plans in order to help each person feel included.
  • Take in to account the economy of the trip. This includes not only the monetary cost, but also the time each person has available or is willing to dedicate to the vacation plan. Don’t think that only expensive places are worth visiting. Set a budget and stick with it.
  • Determine what will really help the family enjoy the time and also benefit them when they return home. We all have seasons in our life when we really need a relaxing time away, like a quiet cabin and a good book, but other times we need some spice, like an adventure or seeing some exotic places.
  • Be wise and caring with everyone involved. This may be especially true in vacations that include the visiting of family. For some this is a great way to recharge, but in many situations this may be an emotional drain. Setting boundaries before committing to a trip schedule can help everyone adjust their expectations. We all have to give a little in order to get a lot of satisfaction from the vacation plans.
  • Don’t let time intervals mean a break from good choices when it comes to eating, rest, spiritual support and exercise. It may be difficult to maintain the regular routine, so plan for these concerns when you plan the days away. Long days of traveling may require good choices breaks. This will include roadside stops and walks; healthy snack bags; daily devotionals read on the road, which may stimulate good discussion etc.

II Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

This vacation season we may each need to evaluate where we are weary and then plan an interval of rest that will help us be recharged.  Then we can get on with our routine with vigor to change our world for good with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Dr. Bill Heston

Dr Bill Heston is Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Houston and is Licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy.

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