The breeze was blowing; the sun shone dappled through the trees. I was sitting at a small cafe at a table by myself, enjoying the lunch special, drinking the iced African rooibos tea I heard recommended to the next table over. As I munched on sandwich and salad and nibbled the last crumbs of scone, I thought about the joys of being on vacation. Nowhere to be, nothing to do. 

My entire week is being spent just lingering.

For the rest of the afternoon, I bought chocolates, tried on dresses, and marveled over the number of toys they make for dogs. I took in three or four art galleries, spending half an hour talking with one artist who spent years in business and politics before finally getting serious about her creative life.

“I’m so thankful that artists like you have time to paint and create,” I told her, after she showed me her studio and explained her style of collecting and displaying others’ artwork.

“Me, too,” she said.

“Just think about what a horrible place this world would be if all the artists had to work in factories and couldn’t do what they love,” I said, kind of gushing.

“Oh, you’re right,” she said, agreeing with me. “I think about that a lot, how blessed I am to do this.”

I ended my day in the park, reading a novel I had picked up at the library the day before.

To think, I was just 15 minutes from home. Just 15 minutes away from the house that usually needs cleaned, the job that causes stress, the bills that must be paid, the garden that needs watered. Just 15 minutes away from the meetings, the schedule, the lack of sleep. But really, not even that far.

I was basically being a tourist in my own backyard, and the change of perspective changed everything.

Patricia Hunter had this same type of transformation of perspective as she looked through the lens of her camera one recent morning. The fence she was photographing was old and rotting, but with a tight zoom and a wide aperture, she created something beautiful.

“The camera’s focus (and my eyes) was on the ugly rotting fence post and barb wire, but the blur and colors of bokeh lights created interest and beauty that could not have been seen with the naked eye alone,” Patricia wrote.

That’s what this sabbatical week has done for me – allowed me to focus on the present, allowed the background to blur, and allowed me to see what is beautiful about this life God has given me. I don’t always see this way, don’t always look at my life through the lens of this grace. It’s beyond me, something I need Jesus to show me. Patricia describes it like this:

And I am reminded that much of what I often see in crusty people and rotten circumstances is shallow and superficial, and how desperate I am for Holy Spirit vision that will reveal the beauty and hope I cannot otherwise see and that shines and sparkles just beyond.

It’s just one week off. Just one week to stay up late and sleep in long and hang out in my pajamas til noon. Just 10 days of eating out and watching movies and reading light-hearted summer books. Just a brief space of time to sit a while with scripture and pray slowly in bed.
But it makes even the crusty, rotten parts of my life seem a whole lot better. Even beautiful.
Photo by “The Wanderer’s Eye”,via Flickr. Used with permission under the Creative Commons License.

Go THERE, (Patricia’s Pollywog Creek Post: “Can’t Explain It”) and then come back HERE again!

Join me for regular jaunts around The High Calling network, randomly visiting fellow bloggers, soaking up their words and ideas, and then coming back here to write about them from my perspective.

Each Thursday, consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.