I am jealous of you. You – the one with the beach vacation photos posted all over Instagram. You – the one who just returned from a blissful honeymoon in a tropical paradise. You – the one who has a big trip to somewhere exotic planned for spring break. Its not that I didn’t also have a blissful honeymoon. And I’ve gone to the beach over Christmas break for the last three years. We may even get away for spring break too. But that hasn’t kept me from scrolling through your photos, desperately wishing they were mine. Vacation envy. It is a real thing in my heart. And I’m sorry. I’m also sorry I didn’t wake up on a remote island this morning with nothing but a day of beaching on my agenda.
Instead I woke up to a snowy morning in a brand new studio apartment nestled in the heart of the Colorado mountains. As it would turn out, my home is a place that is a dream destination vacationers. The problem is, of course, that I live here and not on the beach. I, like most humans trapped in their sinful desires, want what I don’t have.
I don’t think my desire for a bi-weekly vacation is simply a craving for some beaching and good food. At its heart, this insatiable want is stemming from a deep need. Life gets crazy. Chaos seems to arise everywhere I look. I can’t find quite enough rest each night to sustain the pull of the next day. I want a break, I want a place of retreat. So I count down the days to my next vacation, to the next time I’ll be able to get away and relax. I treat my heartfelt need with a superficial antidote. The trips are fun, we have a good time. And then we get home and jump back into busy living, and the pattern for wistfully longing after a vacation begins again.
So I’m trying something new.
I’m trying contentment.
And not a passive contentment that says “it’s ok, I’ll be fine without a vacation.” I am trying an active contentment that creates a place of retreat right here – right where I’m at. Because why do I need to travel somewhere to find rest and reprieve? Why can’t I cultivate that in the home I wake up in every day?
So I light a candle. I buy a plant. I wipe the counters down every day and keep up with the dishes. I launder the sheets as often as I can. I hang pictures and write words that remind me of the beauty that daily life holds. I dim the lights in the evening. I turn on soft music. And I look out the window and marvel in the vacation spot I get to live in.
Our souls and bodies are so intertwined. If we have a physical space that cultivates rest and allows us to unwind from the demands of heavy lives, then our souls will follow suit. We aren’t wired to work constantly for fifty weeks and vacation two week a year. We need daily breaks, daily vacations. So I’m creating a place here, in our home, that will serve as an everyday retreat in the midst of everyday routines. It isn’t the Broadmoor, it isn’t a Disney hotel, it isn’t a tropical resort. But it is a well-ordered home – furnished and decorated uniquely to fit our needs and provide a resting spot for our souls.
I am content to vacation here today.