Here we are. Face hidden beneath my straw hat, tiny dots of sun sneak through the spaces of the finely woven material. I'm sprawled on my back, half-daydreaming and eyelids heavy, when I feel his hand rest on my arm. It took a couple of days for my husband and I to discover our old "relaxed" selves, but we're here now. Present. Counting no time except beats between each wave lapping the shoreline. This is our view for the day and I'm convinced it's a glimpse of heaven.
We've discussed stress together in the past. We've explored topics like our brain chemistry, families, prayer tips, symptoms of stress, and stress eating. This time, I'm taking a different angle, so here are three (over-looked) reasons that you need to get away...
1. Stepping away from what we have forces us to appreciate what God gave.
Does absence make the heart grow fonder? It did for me. When those two little pairs of feet came galloping across wood floors and jumped excitedly onto the mattress for morning hugs, my heart swelled. Gone were the memories of "Put your shoes on!!" "You did what?!" and "We'll see what your Dad says when he gets home!" In their places remained a simple, "I've missed you."
When was the last time you had the opportunity to actually miss your kids, your workplace, your home, your responsibilities, or somebody else close to you?
It's an impossible task if we're constantly bogged down by emails, if we're available to our boss every minute of the day, and when we have no plans to get a break as a couple from parenting. Distance forces us to change our perspective. Quiet allows God the opportunity to speak into us, apart from the noise of routine and constant need.
Unfortunately, gratitude is usually the first thing to sink when we're swamped with life. There's nothing like a stint away to remind us of how special the little things really are.
2. Disappearing for a while helps us to fine tune our hearing.
For the most part, I was unplugged last week. I posted one picture to social media. I didn't answer any emails and we spoke briefly with the kids a few times via Facetime. My phone became nothing more than a back-pocket camera.
Upon arriving to port, notifications plummeted through for many of us on the ship - all at once. I suspect that very little of it was important information we'd missed while at sea. Not only did the world go on without us reading every news or social status update (shocking), but it became quite obvious that most of it was useless noise.
We develop sharper sight and finely-tuned hearing away from the distraction of the day-to-day.
3. Sometimes we have to get away to see ourselves and others with fresh eyes.
How many of us can admit that we go through the motions in life sometimes? I know I do.
Wake up. Eat breakfast. Drink coffee. Clean kitchen. Take kids to school. Work. Pick kids up. Go to practice. Make dinner. Clean kitchen. Play with kids. Read to kids. Pray with kids. Put kids to bed. Do housework. Briefly connect with spouse. Go to sleep.
We slip into monotone, doing what we always do. Kids and work so often drive the course for our days, weeks, months, and years.
My husband and I sailed into the ocean for a special occasion, but we're under no illusion that we could do it that way that all the time. It was only the beginning. Now it's up to us to maintain those feelings we gained by seeing one another through rested, grateful lenses.
It'll have to be smaller and on purpose, but we can certainly appreciate what we have right here. We can look at life with fresh eyes, hear God more clearly, or connect in better ways with those around us if only we're more conscious of numbering our days.
If our getaways begin a little smaller...
An hour a day, a day a week, a week every six months...
It could look a little something like this:
We all need breaks. Without great planning, we'll flail. After all, even God rested - probably on St. Kitts, toes in the sand on arguably some of the most beautiful beaches ever created by Him.
What does your getaway look like?
Still on island time,
"...Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.