Wednesday Quotes
Do We Need a Vacation?
June 10, 2015

In our overly frenetic lives, a time orchestrated for an intense being-together with those we love can be a real gift, even a necessity. I am on vacation this week, and I am deeply grateful to those who have made this extended-family vacation possible. It is a reminder, even a foretaste, of something for which we all yearn.

During this time I have found myself wondering about our need for vacation. It seems to me that the better ordered our life, the less our need for vacation. By vacation I don’t mean just any down-time, but rather a length of time where we travel to some destination for the sake of ‘getting away’ and relaxing. The normal routine of our lives ideally should include wholesome work, quality leisure time, and significant opportunity to be-together with, or live in communion with family and friends.

But since a number of socio-economic conditions can make such things especially difficult, we will need to be intentional about making them happen. Much more important than any vacation is making quality time happen in our homes and communities. No amount of vacation—or entertainment and distraction at home—can ever make up for the absence of either of the twin brothers: good work and good leisure. With others, at home.

That said, I come back to consider how blessed I am to be together now in an extra-ordinary way with my family. It is very good to be here.

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  1. You write beautiful and lovely things. But I have a sneaking suspicion that you are far removed from reality. How lovely it would be to have work that didn’t require a vacation. In the mean time, please stop giving my boss ideas.

    1. Dear Honest Truth, I very much appreciate your comment. I think that I did not make my point as clearly as I should have. Given things as they are, I think that good vacations are quite important. The point of my reflection really was twofold: 1) to suggest that we might look at our homelife, with an eye to how we can have richer activities (both of work and leisure) there, and 2) (though I didn’t really say this) we might look at our vacations and strive to form them into truly rich times–with an emphasis on quality activities that give occasion for personal communion, as opposed to more banal entertainment. Vacations can be among children’s fondest memories, and likewise times most appreciated by adults, especially when the emphasis is on being-with those we love. Indeed, sometimes taking a good vacation with one’s family is precisely an instance of putting first things first. Unto that end, here’s encouraging your boss to help make that possible…

  2. John – I really loved this post. You’re reminding me that even in the midst of busy work days and life I should make a moment for leisure – even if that means just taking a moment to look at the beautiful flowers on my back porch, or noticing the sunlight streaming through the leaves of the trees. You’re right – the “intentionality” is so important. I don’t need 2 weeks of vacation to ‘intentionally’ enter into leisure, even for a moment. And I’m also thinking how much more enjoyable my official vacations would be if I’ve already formed some habit of leisure – rather then trying to cram all my leisure time into a few days off. Gosh just the thought of that makes me look forward to my next vacation even more! Thank you John!

    1. Teresa, I very much appreciate your taking the time to share this. I think you’ve seen what I was trying to express better than I have.

  3. Hi Dr. Cuddeback,
    First, I hope if you are already on your vacation that you close this and continue what you were doing. Read it later truly – or not at all—as you prefer.
    I read your post this morning then went about my routine. It came to me in a different way, undergirding my reflection as I was heading into the church to pray. There is a park bench along the way with a view of a small garden. I thought to myself, out of the blue, “annuals are in some ways offensive, it is right this garden should be perennial.” I know that annuals have their place. But today the thought of them was offensive after your post. You describe a good life and I thought that just as it is with a good garden, cultivating perennials over the years means that we nurture them, and yearn for them to love us back by growing and reaching their full beauty and potential. I sat so still considering this, and beginning then a much deeper reflection on God’s yearning for us, faith as both divine revelation and human act, that a squirrel climbed up the bench to my shoulder about 8 inches away. Now, it could be that our priest sits on that bench and feeds them at times, but I don’t think so. I think it was that in my stillness, He revealed something of Himself and how He comes to us. So often in we strangle our lives and our faith with the weeds of stress and anxiety, annuals in an eternity. Year after year we can do this to ourselves. When we recognize instead that to flourish takes time, cultivation, slow and steady love, we treat our interactions and relationships as if they are perennial from the moment we begin, and what a difference it makes then to the beauty and depth that is returned in our lives and to our understanding of cultivation and nurturing itself.
    Thanks again. Have a wonderful vacation.

    1. Malia, It is amazing what visions are given to us, if we are willing to stop and really see. Thanks so much for sharing this, and for your kind wishes. Heading home now, after many blessings…