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Entering the fog bank of family vacation

It’s mid-July, season of family vacations (complete with assorted small cousins and siblings).  I am on one in Santa Barbara.  Every morning a blanket of fog rolls in from the Pacific Ocean and cloaks us.  I’ve decided it’s an apt metaphor for what I’m feeling. Part of it is, …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

It’s mid-July, season of family vacations (complete with assorted small cousins and siblings).  I am on one in Santa Barbara.  Every morning a blanket of fog rolls in from the Pacific Ocean and cloaks us.  I’ve decided it’s an apt metaphor for what I’m feeling.

Part of it is, this is my fourth trip in a row (Africa, Mexico, Indiana and now, CA).  And part of it is, I’m only ever as good as the poetry in my life.  It is the side of me that gives and shines.  But out here, I feel like a consumer, taking more than I give, leaving my spirit feeling puffy and bloated.  Whereas usually I’m navigating life with clarity, out here I’m bumping into walls and can’t hear myself think.  It feels like I’m in a Twilight Zone scene.
 
It has nothing to do with my family itself whom I love and am happy to see.  I love my parents, my sisters, my brother, and their families.  It’s great to catch up with them.  They are all wonderful and doing well.  And this is our only chance to be together, so it’s a gift.

But maybe you can relate to the discombobulation of a family vacation.  It happens every time – because we move thru life at a breakneck pace, we actually look forward to them, mistaking them for a therapeutic space in the annual calendar.

What we fail to remember are the aspects of life that are crazy making:

  • Lack of consistent schedule
  • Constant swirl of activity.
  • Occasional barbed comments that only family members get to make.
Lost in this hub-bub is whatever life of the mind one might ordinarily live.  It reminds me of a story I just heard: A group of tourists went on a safari in Africa and hired several native porters to carry their supplies for them. After three days, the porters announced they would have to stop and rest for a day. When the tourists inquired as to why (they did not appear to be tired) the porters confirmed that fatigue was not the reason: “…but we have walked too far too fast and now we must wait for our souls to catch up to us.” 

Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Maybe most people who go on these mass vacations return home rested and clear-thinking.  But I think there are other people out there like me, lost in the fog bank of a family vacation, trying to navigate thru the noise to hear themselves think again.

Comments (6)

  • Absolutely! I am nothing without some solitude and as the 24 hour a day family on school hols stuff kicks in, I find myself most definitely lost in a fog. I love my family, but is the experience restful? No way!!!

    I am in the UK, so probably things run differently school breakwise to you, but I have 3rd September circled on the calendar as the day I breathe again, the day I sit down in a quiet house with everyone gone back to school and work, and it’s just me, my God and my thoughts released to play and explore again.

    Some people gain energy from constant company, but I am not one of them. Some people love having no schedule. I like it for a very short time!

    Huge blessings on you! May you find peace in some unexpected corners……..

    Love Caz xxx

  • Seth-
    I agree completely. My family situation right now makes it seem like we’re on some extended vacationnothing ever seems to stabilize and it’s hard to settle your mind, let alone grow in your relationship with Christ. I wrote a little about it in my blog “Reunion” (Shameless blog advertisement) at http://warriorshepherd.com/blog/2008/06/15/reunion/

  • I used to always plan my return on a Friday or Saturday so that I would have the flexability to take the vauchers airlines offered for overbooked flights. More than once, I got to spend a night in a hotel alone and have a mini vacation on the way home from my vacation. And if not, at least I had an extra day at home before the week started.

  • More and more of my “holidays” are becoming like this. trying to cram so much into so little time. Can’t stop and enjoy the moment, or we’ll miss dinner reservations. I’ll look forward to taking a week off work, then end up looking forward to getting back to work for some rest.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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