Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vacation musings

ANd on the seventh day God finished the work..and he rested... (Genesis 2)
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy... (Exodus 20)

Wednesday morning we leave on vacation. An idea in keeping with the concept of SAbbath and rest. Vacations are essential to our well-being in body mind and spirit. And yet in last THursday's New York Times one could read:

SOMEWHERE on a faraway beach, a cellphone rings, a BlackBerry buzzes, a laptop beeps.

It is an electronic requiem for the American vacation.
“I never go on vacation,” said Ellen Kapit, a real estate agent in Manhattan. “And when I do, I have my computer, my Palm, my e-mail and my phone with me at all times.”
Ms. Kapit’s habits are typical of today’s employees, who check for e-mail messages from work in between parasailing or floating in the hotel pool, consider a long weekend a major excursion and sacrifice vacation days by not taking them.

Are vacations becoming a thing of the past? And, if they are, at what cost?

To tell the truth I don't think this is a new phenomenon. There have always been those who didn't quite take all their vacation time, preferring to take vacation pay instead. ANd there have always been people who would call the office while away "just to check in". What is new is how easy it is to blur the lines between work and vacation.

BUt what is the cost? Is it worth never really destressing, never letting go of all those concerns? I may be the wrong one to ask. THe last time I took a week of vacation I called in to a teleconference half way through. And I continued to check all the same websites I normally do -- including the church ones. And, because we were in town for over half the week, it was terribly tempting to pop across the parking lot to the church "just for a second" (even if only to drop off the mail, yes I collected the church mail while on holidays too, and end up doing a couple of things).

BUt for the next 4 weeks we will be away. IT is always easier to honour a vacation when not staying at home. NOw that 4 weeks includes a week of study time (a compressed week, a 3 day retreat to do some visioning and planning and centering), and likely a Presbytery teleconference (also charged to the week of study time). ANd admittedly I will use my parents computer somewhat. I look forward to it. NOt just because the break will be nice, or because the visit "home" will be nice. I look forward to it because, despite all the pressures the NYT lists around vacations, I understand why Sabbath time is important. THere is a reason Sabbath time is part of those 10 commandments. It is all about loving oneself as you love your neighbour. IT is about taking care of yourself so you can live out who you are called to be.

One day, a week, a month. WHatever length of time you can get. Take some SAbbath time. It does a body/mind/spirit/heart/soul good.

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