It is Monday morning and I am just back from a great week of vacation. I did a great job of staying off email while away. That’s the good news. The bad news of course, is that my email box today is busting at the seams.
One of the first emails is from my wonderful colleague Becca, and it goes something like this: “Just a friendly reminder that your piece for the E-Newsletter is due tomorrow. The topic is "balancing work, home, and self-care." I find this a bit ironic, given that after a week of vacation self-care, I am out of balance in all the right ways.
I confess that the Monday after vacation is generally not my favorite day of the year. The better the vacation, the harder that first Monday. I love my job, but there is a lot to be said for sleeping in, reading on a beach, family togetherness and lots of time in nature. This happened to be an especially good week on Cape Cod, including precious time with our increasingly absent teenagers. And I crave the change of perspective that comes from stepping away from work, and into a different kind of time. I see the world and my place in it differently.
Week long vacations are great, but they are also rare. I’m pretty much done for the year. So now its back to shorter versions of this step back time. Like vacations, these brief spiritual practices have everything to do with work-home-self care balance. Prayer, quiet, and meditation are often the times I have a chance to reflect on the whole of my life. Am I working too much? Too little? Which relationships need attention? How much stress and anxiety am I carrying, and why? Prayer, quiet and meditation help me to know the state of my soul, so I can make corrections and adjustments to my life before the wheels come off in one way or another.
Reading in the quiet, priorities often get realigned. Today these were the words that provided the reminder I needed to hear:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Thank God for vacation. And help me God, after vacation, to step back often—to realign, reconnect, and renew.