I know it sounds ridiculous. I mean, who actually has to take a break from their vacation? But it’s true.
I (along with Charlie and Maddie) began our summer vacation as soon as VBS at our church was over in June. We wrapped up (for the most part) our school year that week. We finished up MOPS, gymnastics, and T-ball. I turned down any and every offer to fill our calendar for the next two months, using Meghan Trainor’s “NO” as my inspiration. I know she had different intentions, but I still feel it gets my point across:
We were good to go.
We went to the beach for a week, then we followed that up with 2 weeks of pool time, naps, more VBS, time with friends, a visit to Mt. Airy, and an ideally fabulous July 4th weekend. We have been going to the movies and eating out and using paper plates. The house has been a mess and we barely have clean clothes to wear, but it has been wonderful. My mind has been gloriously empty.
I have to interrupt myself here and say that I felt a tremendous wave of guilt wash over me as I wrote that last paragraph. How ridiculous is it that I am allowed to spend whole weeks like this when there is so much suffering going on? After beginning a paragraph explaining how hard I have worked for the past 10 months, how my family has been grieving, I stopped and deleted it. I don’t have to explain myself to you people, because you all know how hard life is.
This week, we had to get back to real life. We spent last Friday cleaning, doing laundry, and buying groceries in preparation for playdates and meetings at our house. We got haircuts and went to the post office and paid bills and taxes. We’re having a workweek, which is necessary to a busy life.
But beginning today at 12 we are back on vacation. We’ve got another few weeks and we’re going to enjoy them.
This summer, I’ve learned some things about rest and celebration and making memories in general. Our theme over the last year of MOPS has dealt with real rest (not scrolling-through-Facebook rest), but I will be honest and say that I ignored what they were trying to teach me and what I was trying to teach the women in my group. Who has time for rest, right? And how are we supposed to have clean houses and clothes, well-rounded children, husbands who aren’t hungry, and fit bodies if we’re resting all of the time?
But now that I have had real rest, I see the desperate need that I have for it. I don’t forget so much. I feel like doing things for other people. I don’t feel stressed when I think of the summer being over. I am kinder to my children and husband. I notice little things that my children do that I know I will want to remember. I say yes to things I would have said no to before. I read actual books and I feel like writing!!!
I also see the need that my family has for rest. I have found that, because we have taken some time to just be, we laugh more. We talk over longer dinners without worrying about time. The kids get along better. We all sleep sounder.
This was my theme verse for the summer:
“So I commended enjoyment because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life God gives him under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15.
I didn’t get it at first. I thought perhaps God just wanted us to have a nice dinner every once in awhile. I could definitely pull that off. But now I really understand. I overheard Jason explaining the verse to Charlie last week, telling him that God wants us to have fun times, to relax and have great memories. He told him that those memories are what keeps us going during times when life is hard, when we’re working and maybe weary. Those times of rest are a gift from God.
So I understand now, God. I’ll take advantage of this summer that you’ve blessed me and my family with. Then I’ll take the memories and the energy and I’ll keep on running the race, and I hope that, when you have the opportunity, you’ll do the same.