Time off, we all wish we had more of it. But alas we can never get enough of it. As kids we never thought about having time off, summer always came and you didn’t have school. As adults we value those precious 3-4 weeks of vacation time a year. If you’re like my mother you only use like 6 of those days and then they don’t roll over into the next year so you loose them!
We all need some rest and relaxation, but why do we never seem to get enough it? Well to be quite honest we’ve become a slave to the schedule and the foreman is the clock. What we don’t realize is that personal time is essential to our inner being. Even Jesus took time away from his disciples and the crowds to reflect on his ministry, we could take a hint.
This last weekend I had what is called an “off-campus weekend.” It’s basically a weekend where we can get off campus and do our thing without having to come back to the seminary. Charles, Keith, and myself decided that we we’re going to go to NYC. Now this seemed crazy at the time, but in hindsight it was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, and we’ve made some good calls.
These weekends are precious to us, we don’t get them very often and for most of us its’s the only time we go home between breaks. So to decide that we were going not only across the state, but across the country was a big deal. We threw caution to the wind and went for it. We called a friend of ours (we know everybody) and found a place to crash for free, thus saving us money.
We also asked if there was anything that we should go to see, and that turned into a: “I’ll just show you guys around of the whole weekend.” So a personal tour guide for NYC, can’t complain. It felt that we were there for a week, when it was actually 36 hours so that’s how you know it was good trip.
New York City is different from the Mid-West, in ever aspect. There a re more people, more buildings, trains, taxis, longer lines, things are more expensive, and it’s fast. Really fast. Now I can do fast, I like fast cars, fast motorcycles, and fast cars but this was way different. They talk fast, they never sit still, and it’s all about efficiency and how fast you get something done. Where were the breaks? What happened to personal time? Why are we going so dang fast?
I don’t have the answer, but what I can say is there is something they are missing out on and that’s called the contemplative life. If you are constantly moving around, going somewhere, doing something, answering the phone, texting, or doing whatever it is you do; filling your life with noise basically. How can God talk to you?
God is preset in the little things, the quite moments we experience throughout the day, the insignificant things and we are so caught up in doing other things we don’t even notice. That stack of papers will still be there in the morning, the due dates will keep coming, money will always need to be earned, but for this small window of time take five and revel in the life that the Lord has given. Remember; “you don’t choose life, you live one.”
(I want to thank Mary and her family for putting up with all 3 of us this weekend. You may not ever read this but know that you gave us that moment of joy and break from the world we were caught up in.)