I'm not often quiet. I'm not often still. I'm not often not thinking.

I think about what I have to do at work, what needs to be done around the house, and what to make for dinner. I think about whether or not I'm a good mom, or a good wife, and I think about how we can make a dent in poverty. I think about how to be a better photographer, when I can write more often, and what my life would be like if we became kind of Amish.

I think about how to raise a sensitive boy and a strong girl. I think about gender stereotypes and where they come from and what they really mean for my kids future. I think about all the littles in the world who aren't well loved and how we must figure out how to help them. I think about all the bigs who are angry and hurt and how to help them. I think about all the myriad of ways that I am short-sighted, short-tempered, and straight up wrong, and I wonder how to help myself.

If I stop thinking I pick up my ipad and I read about poverty and child development, and ancient cultures. I try to, on a daily basis, read my bible, work out, and play with my kids. Inside my head, and outside my head, it is a busy life.

And then one day I went on vacation, and I didn't think at all. All week. Seriously.

I didn't plan, I didn't read, and I didn't think deeply beyond a deep and abiding gratitude.

I didn't worry about work, or think about what to eat. I didn't read or try to solve anyone's problems, apart from the occasional sibling drama.

Not thinking really got me thinking. And now I think the enemy, bad karma, whatever you believe negative forces to be, I believe they thrive in busy. It's where we lose our relationships.

There is a great meme going around – wait, side note:

meme /mēm/

1. An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.

2. An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.

(I've been pronouncing that wrong and wondering just exactly what it is for some time. Now I feel better.)

Anyway, there is a great meme making the rounds. Well, here it is:


I'm going to have to go make one up for me and it's going to say:

“Don't let yourself become so busy trying to create a great life that you forget you already have one!”

It's ok to stop. We are biblically directed to rest. Our culture has become so obsessed with productivity that we have forgotten that it requires periods of inactivity. At least I had. Maybe it is less that I had forgotten but more that I didn't think I had time.

I am going to do a better job of unplugging. Unplugging not only my electronics, but unplugging my relentless thinking. I'm going to go on 'vacation' at least once a day. Just take some time – 15 minutes, and hour, two, and just be. I'm going to plan more day trips for the family where we get away from our responsibilities and just let them wait. It will all be here when we get back, that much is certain.

Sometimes it is easier to work at creating something that it is to sit in the midst of it. But it is time that we all learn how to stop and listen. Rest and pay attention. Honor the people that are in our midst and forget about the chaos that is in our minds.

Vacation was new to me – not something we did a lot of when I was growing up. I didn't really understand the value of it. But it is incredibly valuable. It will be a priority for us going forward. It's a full week away together to remember what the busyness of life is so adept at making us forget.

We are enough. Full stop.

 

  • Kathy Cantrell Rossing

    Even on vacation, People seldom stop… Go Go Go.. do this do that….Never really enjoying where they are or why they went… Wondering what they did and where they were after they are home. I love vacation … A walk once a day takes me away… A book that doesn’t require thinking…. Laying on the river bank listening to the water take all my worlds problems away with it… just for the moment….When I travel… it’s kinda in a zig zag…. takes me much further than I intended to go….to places I never planned and I might never reach the original destination….But.. there’s always next year.. Right??? ahhh The beauty of VACATION… voiding.. all … concerns… and… taking ..in…only…NOW…..
    So glad you got that gift…

    • Julie

      You sound like a pro, Kathy! You sound like someone else, too :). Thanks for speaking into my heart!

  • Stephanie B.

    I am so glad you were able to go on vacation with us and I am especially glad that the outcome was so amazing! You know I have trouble doing all of what you have said but I am getting so much better. You always help me to become better. Let’s relax together again soon!

    • Julie

      Thanks, Steph – I will owe you forever. If not for your impromptu invite and our spontaneous decision to go for it – who know’s how long it would have taken me to figure out how great vacations were for a famwee! Love you so much – and so thankful for you!

      Yes, we need to chill – when I get back!

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