Friday, July 24, 2015

How to Keep the Vacation High Going

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You know when you get back from vacation and there are those precious few hours between arriving and really settling back into daily life when the vacation-high still lingers? You haven't quite gotten back into the swing of things, but you're still at home with laundry waiting in your suitcase and grocery shopping needed to fill the empty fridge, with a day at the office looming tomorrow -- all of the normal routine chores that every day life presents us with, creeping their little shadowing fingers over the sunshine we just enveloped ourselves in for the past week or so.
Well, I'm there right now, and as I fight the urge to ease into the choppy waters of the everyday, I find myself fighting for slightly nobler reasons than simply the lament of rest and relaxation. I just got back from a vacation that was filled to the brim with family time, extended and immediate. It was great being with people we don't get to see that often, and particularly sharing our daughter with them. Laughter, fun and even family crises brought us closer together, adding up to what I would count as a vacation for the record books.
But as we left the massive beach home and our parents' houses, returning to our modest apartment with no air conditioning, I can't help but somehow appreciate this life more than ever. Getting away from everything and seeing people we love has somehow left me with a feeling that life, as a whole, is wonderful, and the people we get to spend it with are what make it so sweet, especially the ones I get to see every day. I love my wife and daughter and our simple life together, and somehow taking a break from what is normal has re-framed my thinking as such.
And so, as the drudgery of work and responsibility tumble down into my psyche, I guard this feeling with gusto. It's easy to take life for granted when we are consumed by the everyday, lost in tunnels of routine with blinders of what-needs-to-be-done-and-when blocking our vision. But in reality, the everyday is what makes life so special, and appreciating each mundane moment we're given will lead to nothing less than a happy and joyful existence. Sometimes it takes a vacation -- stepping back -- to really see the beauty of the everyday.
And so I charge you, reader, as you head home from your week at the beach, don't lament your return, but thank God that you have a home to return to, and people to return with. For this is the place where the greatest pleasures of life are lived, and gratitude is the only lens through which you will see them for what they are: a life well-lived.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (1 Timothy 6:6-7)

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