Well, my vacation is basically over. Were it not July 4th, I would have made my way merrily to work this morning, and in less than an hour I would have found myself at home, sitting in this very spot, doing this very thing. Writing. Serendipitously, or rather by design, my week off fell pleasantly next to a national holiday and was thus extended by a day.
Every vacation needs a buffer day like today. A day to clean the carpet and start the laundry and take an inventory of what’s in the fridge. But also a day to begin the reentry – to orbit carefully around real life and to find the perfect moment to slide back in to daily work and regular chores and lists that get checked off when tasks are completed.
Last week, I spent my days in libraries and art galleries, eating at quaint restaurants and reading light novels. This week, I will spend hours at my computer and eat crackers at my desk. I will read hundreds of emails and prepare loads of reports.
But something definitely happened to me this week, something needful.
I began my vacation brusquely telling my coworkers that I would spend my time doing what I wanted to do. And meaning it. But now, having spent a week lingering here and there, a new thought has been growing, a question really. What is it I WANT to do? For a week it was easy to decide here and there to eat, not eat, read, not read. For a week I could make no plans or commitments and find my way quite nicely. Were I to live the whole of my life that way, I would find it quite meaningless.
I escaped the routine and the planning and the ambition to find that I actually am a person who needs routines and plans and ambitions. I need to be going somewhere, I need to know what I am doing on Thursday afternoon. I need purposeful work.
But I also need rest.
If I learned anything this week (though, really, learning was not the point), it’s that I need a little of this sabbatical resting on a regular basis. It’s amazing to have a week off every once in a while, but it’s necessary to have a day off every week. I know that; I’ve lived that in the past, but I had forgotten.
This week was a good reminder.
Interested in writing in community? Here are some ways to join others in online writing projects:
*Beginning Monday, July 18, theHighCalling.org will begin a new book club around Luci Shaw’s Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: A Reflection on Creativity and Faith. Buy the book or pick it up at the library, read the first couple of chapters, and prepare to blog about your response.
*TS Poetry is working on writing sestinas in July. Sestinas are a type of form poetry with six stanzas of six lines and repeating end words. I started a sestina about vacations, but it was too much work! I think I will try again on a less relaxing topic. Sestinas are challenging, but worth the effort.
*Join me on Thursdays for There and Back Again. If you are part of the High Calling network, visit another network member, then go back to your blog and write about the same topic, adding links to the inspirational post and leaving a comment to let them know you are there. Then, you can add a link to your post on my blog that day so others can follow you there and back again around the network. It’s a good way to make new friends!