Planning a Vacation?


I’m getting ready to start a much-needed vacation.

The incredibly busy season of Lent has come to an end, and I’ve journeyed through Holy Week – from the Cross to the empty Tomb. I’ve taken time to respond to an ever-growing list of email messages, to write articles for the next newsletter, to update my blog, and to help our new Parish Administrator brace herself for a time when I won’t be available to answer her questions – while fielding the post-Easter barrage of telephone calls and text messages. I’ve prepared my sermon for this weekend, and I can actually see the glass on the top of my desk for the first time in months. And now, it’s time for me to shift gears a bit and to prepare to stop.

I sometimes find it hard to stop.

I’ve already planned my travel itinerary, and I’ve picked-out the book that I want to read during my vacation. I’ve selected some restaurants that I want to visit. I’m thinking about all of the activities that will fill my days away from home, so that I pack the right kind of clothes. I’m taking my bicycle. I’m bringing my Garmin Vivoactive HR, so that I can count every step I take while walking on the beach. I’m planning to rise early enough to watch the sun rise over the ocean, and I’m going to spend some time collecting sea glass. There will be lots of time for visiting with family and for playing with my little granddaughter. And, of course, I’ll take some time to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins moving forward on their quest to win the Stanley Cup. I’m planning to spend an evening talking with people who are going to move to Pittsburgh. I’ll most certainly need to carve-out special time to spend with my wife – since that’s sometimes lacking during other times of the year. And, of course, I’ll need to eat lunch at Mama Kwan’s at least once.

I sometimes find it hard to stop.

Life often forces us to run like a machine, doesn’t it? I, sometimes, joke about the fact that my most important daily goal is to end the day with fewer things on my “to do” list than I had on that list when the day began. I begin the day with my regular caffeine jolt – and I often take another “hit” in the middle of the afternoon. And once each week, God tells me that I need to stop. “Carve-out some time for refreshment and renewal,” God says. “Take some time to smell flowers – to listen to laughter – to spend time with the people that you love – to allow Me to calm you and to refocus your life.”

I sometimes find it hard to stop, but God continues to remind me that I’m not a machine. God continues to call me to stop – for my own good – and for the good of the people that I love and continue to serve. But, that’s not easy for me to do. It’s far easier for me to keep going and to continue to pack more and more activities into my days. One of the greatest challenges I’ll face this week is learning how to relax and find time for renewal, so that I don’t return home at the end of the week more exhausted than when my vacation began.

I sometimes find it hard to stop.

And this week, I’m going to be challenged again to see that God doesn’t give us “free time” so that we can simply pack it with even more endless tasks and activities. God created a Sabbath because people aren’t machines and I’m going to spend some time in the coming week thinking about that. Or is that just another task that I’m going to try to squeeze into a week when God’s calling me to step out of my normal routine and discover the fact that the world isn’t going to end if I take a much-needed break?



1 thought on “Planning a Vacation?

  1. Great that you are getting time to get away Definitely a well deserved vacation. Thank you for sharing God’s words & Blessing’s & Resurrection of His son, our Lord. Do know that you have been very busy & want you to know how special you are. I know you & Laurel will have a wonderful time with family & especially with Harper. Thanks for all that you do for Christ’s Lutheran Church. Have a safe trip. MJ

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

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