I just returned from a two week vacation. Here’s what I learned.

  1. It’s important to get away. And for me that requires two weeks once a year. It takes me one week to really unplug. I leave the computer behind. I only pull in email so that I can delete most of it and it doesn’t pile up while I’m gone – but really I only keep what is absolutely necessary for when I return. That means of the roughly 1500 emails I received in the last two weeks, I kept about 60 that need to be dealt with. The rest were trashed.
  2. It’s important to literally get away. For me that means we literally go somewhere else. And the farther, the better. Going away means being unavailable. How can I possibly do something for someone when I am miles and miles away. This allows me to relax and enjoy the time away – I don’t trouble my mind with could of’s and should of’s.
  3. I love to travel. This isn’t a new learning. It’s more a reminder. On this trip we did discover something though – we like to travel deep. There are people who like to travel wide. To each their own. Here’s what I mean. We came across a couple who was traveling to many different parts of Maine in order to see more of the state. We traveled and set up shop in just three locations – with one location being our home base for half the vacation. We wanted to explore specific locations and really get to learn about the area. There are positives and negatives to each of these travel philosophies. The key is to understand and accept which one is most fulfilling to you.
  4. Unplugging is vital. I already talked a bit about this. But there’s one other aspect of this that is important. For the last two weeks, I have no idea what happened in the world. And I don’t want to know really. My mind needed time to rest from the distractions and hustle and bustle that is never ending in our world. I needed time to just be present and away from the onslaught of “news.”
  5. Listening. Being away is also an opportunity to listen to God. Even in the midst of lots of activities that a busy family of six has on vacation, it is different. Our schedule was different. And that difference allows me to hear what God is saying – to me, to the church, the world, the poor, those in power, etc. God has a lot to say, if only we would listen. We can hear God when we close our mouths and stop typing and tweeting for a bit.
  6. Seeing the world differently. Getting away allows one to adjust their eyesight and their hearing. You see things that you didn’t notice before. You see and hear the underlying beliefs and attitudes. You see through the shallowness of some things. You see these things for what they are. You see what you are confronted with and this allows you to ask questions of what God is calling you to do in response.