This is the view I see each October half term as we have a family holiday. I get to sit on the sofa and stare at the view as the sun rises – which at this time of the year doesn’t mean I am up that early!
Last night I had a bath and read some of a Ruth Rendell novel, I had previously had a walk by the sea and played golf with the adorable nephew. I am not always sure why I blog when I am on holiday, I do it in part because it is a spiritual discipline for me which gets me to reflect and at least identify something which I need to ponder on for a bit longer. In my term time life I don’t get a lot of time to sit and stare but I do need it to recharge and renew. It doesn’t have to be a pastoral scene like this – I could do the same with a city skyline, it is more about being still and resting.
I am going back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks holiday and I am an in worse condition than when I went. I ache more, hurt more, my hand is injured (hit by our new sea kyack), my hips hurt from lots of activity – walking, golf, trying out the new coracle, gardening, painting. But I feel great!
It is a different type of tired to when I went on holiday. That was weary tired, in need of a rest, needing a break. Tomorrow I go back limping to the hospital, unable to carry or work much with my right hand, but I am ready and looking forward to it. I am invigorated tired, hurt from enjoyment, recharging.
Perhaps a balanced life is the opportunity of having both types of tired. Holiday blessing, go and be differently knackered!
Summer means a little bit of a different rhythm of work and life. Holidays offer the freedom not to be governed by the clock and to just rest and potter and revel in doing nothing without feeling there is something else I should be doing!
Today our holiday is nearly at an end – if I blew on the dandelion today it would need to nearly all float away. I remember the simple pleasure of playing what’s the time with dandelion seed heads when I a child – however many puffs it took was the time!
Holidays are time for some of those other simple pleasures, paddling, skimming stones, eating an ice cream and trying not to let seagulls steal chips! It helps me to remember to hold on to some of the child like joy I used to experience when life wasn’t complicated!
When I think back to some of my childhood memories, the things that stand out are the little things. I don’t know if my parents were conscious of the idea of memory making – I hear it talked about much more now but perhaps that is a youth worker thing… All my vivid pictures are of things like picnics or fishing and other sporting things, being got out of bed at my cousins to see a partial eclipse…
This summer I have enjoyed some of these seemingly little things: hitting the golf club my adorable nephew told me to hit and doing a much better shot than my choice would have led to; playing with god children at Kingsbury – watching them feed the birds, take risks on play equipment; sitting watching swallows playing in the eaves of where we were staying and watching egrets roosting in the trees; browsing round a local art fair on Bodmin admiring the creativity of others; worshipping at the riverside chapel… These are the things that have nurtured my soul and spirit – little things which really are big things.
Sally and I have just had a wonderful holiday in Cornwall. I was ready for it, it has been a very busy and full year so far. Like many people it took us a few days to wind down and we had a few things to deal with while we were away. Although we plan our holidays about a year in advance there are other factors in having a life and ministry that tries to reflects the principles of our website – marker posts and shelters for a healthy, effective rule and rhythm of life.
The solution is to seek to live my life that I don’t desperately need my holidays to come along. That my life in between is lived at a pace that when my holidays come along, I am “oh that;s nice”, rather than “oh at last”. This would seem to be a symptom of a more balanced lifestyle that would be healthier and more conducive to wellbeing. One of the ways I am going to do this is not to work less hard but to work more wisely.
This quotation from Columbanus (an Irish Saint living in the 6th – 7th centuries) is particularly apt for holiday time when I get to spend so much more time outside appreciating the many mysteries of the universe. There are so many things either I didn’t learn at school or I have completely forgotten like how the moon and the tides work, geology and rock formations, the power of currents which move swathes of stones and sand so that every day the shoreline is different and why there are so many amazing colours in the sky at sunset (this picture taken yesterday at Kit Hill)…
I am also amazed how although there are so many things we do know and can find out through typing a few things into google, nature can still be a mystery. It perhaps sounds a little sad but most days I listen to Farming today on Radio 4 between 5.45 and 6.00am and on Mondays there is a five day weather forecast – this Monday the forecaster admitted that it wasn’t fully clear – the computer predicted lots of different possibilities. Although in my regular work life I am quite planned, organized and structured I also appreciate the seize the day nature of holidays where what we do can depend on weather, times and tides and our plans made the previous evening can change as we see what each new day holds!