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.
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:
- Creating a childcare co-op with trusted friends who can rotate babysitting nights. Everybody gets a break and nobody breaks the bank.
- Learning something new. Taking dancing lessons. Trying a new instrument or sport. Cooking a new recipe as a family, instead of rushing to get dinner on the table.
- Paring down all of our activities and choosing just one or two really important ones to pour time and energy into.
- Taking an hour a day to take a walk or listen to music.
- Politely passing on lunch with coworkers so that you can escape somewhere quiet or get a workout in.
- Picking up dinner in a bag and eating it somewhere beautiful.
- Forgoing TV and the internet at night to spend uninterrupted time with a spouse.
- Waking up before the kids do to enjoy breakfast and a cup of coffee in the quiet, calm of the morning.
- Saying "no" when you're tempted to say "yes" to a responsibility you know you can't handle, and then feeling exuberant in the freedom afterward.
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,