Va-ca-tion ~ noun ~ “A period or suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel.”
Sometimes I have to remind myself what vacation really is all about. It’s not just a day or two off to run errands or take care of personal business, although that’s what much of mine is used for. Recently, I knew that I needed a real vacation described in the definition above, and one or two days were not going to accomplish what I needed – a true break in order to re-group and re-focus.
Between my corporate position and some personal issues, I was totally drained. I had reached a point where the simplest of tasks was a chore. I didn’t feel like I was good for anything or anyone. One night, I felt like a massive weight was bearing down on my chest and there was no way out. I was so overwhelmed that I sent an old friend a message and asked her to pray for me. I didn’t offer details about my situation, but she said she would pray. When I finally fell asleep, I dreamed I was suffocating. In the dream, she was next to me and said, “Deb, just breathe, just breathe.” That’s all she said.
I woke up and realized I was holding my breath and was relieved that I really could breathe. The horrible feeling of not being able to breathe kept me awake the remainder of the night. Later that day, I read a blog where someone described a completely different situation and paused to simply say: “Take a breath.” Wow – did that speak to me or what?
For the first time that I can ever remember, I scheduled two full weeks of vacation at one time. The first week was spent out of town, a typical traveling vacation – nice accommodations, the beach, the pool, completely away, and total relaxation with no schedule. I was blessed to be able to do this on a shoestring budget. The second week was a staycation – nothing exciting but I did accomplish a few personal things, had more writing time, and took one brief day trip with a friend. I am so glad that I took that little afternoon trip with her to a small rural town. We had lunch at a cozy diner that served homemade pie. Yum! (I took time to smell the roses.) 🙂
The important thing is that I recognized my need. I needed the break to reset myself – a reboot if you will. I learned that when I’m on vacation, I not only smell the roses, I see others and their needs. I see the person next to me stressed the way I was. I see the person struggling with a physical disability. I see the carefree spirit of a child.
One day, I watched God’s wondrous creation – the ocean, the waves, the washing of the sand forward and the return. I watched a child build a sandcastle, and I watched older children battle the waves with their boogie boards. After watching for a while, I joined in with them playing in the waves. And you know what? We saw dolphins just a few feet away.
My vacation has come to an end, but I am refreshed to go back into my world and deal with my situations and the people there. Hopefully they, in turn, can tolerate me. I think I took my vacation for me and for them. 🙂
I am not ashamed that I took time to … just breathe.