It might surprise some, but it is a psychological fact of life that “taking a vacation” is an anxiety-producing situation. I’m told that because vacation-time is a period of change involving preparation, the variation in routine necessarily causes an unsettling experience.
Be that as it may, let me make it clear that the need for vacation time and the healthy benefits that accrue heavily outweigh any downside effects.
In fact, one of the problems with our workaholic culture is the guilt so many of us carry about taking time off. Who among us isn’t expendable? When does such perfectionism become the vice it is.
It could be that the Protestant work ethic, which so affected the development of our nation, left us with the residue of such feelings.
Whatever the cause, the anxious moments associated with idle time have to be sorted out and evaluated for what they are.
It is my humble opinion that more harm is done to wholesome relationships and keen productivity because of a miserly approach to work habits than all the goofing-off to which some would point. You see, the relaxation and the giving-back to the human spirit which result from rest have a way of energizing the human psyche and restoring a person’s vitality.
A friend of mine likes to talk about the “space” she needs every once in a while in just being away from the kids and all the housework.
Not that there isn’t great value in raising kids, being devoted to family life and all the rest that is associated with the American dream. But a proper balance requires a period aside, a time alone with spouse or friends, a favorite book , or a dinner just with candlelight and a rosy glass of wine.
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle to yourself....”
St. Irenaeus said as early as the second century that the glory of God is a person fully alive. Somehow, the drained, overworked type who climbs the corporate ladder for money, fame, and these days, the pure challenge of it all, has missed something.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, that fascinating woman who knew the pain of living but always managed to concentrate on its joy, once penned a little work which best describes the merit of a time apart.
In “Gift from the Sea,” she writes about a vacation spent alone on a special island. Reflecting on the simplicity of sea shells, she draws appealing analogies from her time alone with the sea and the sand, and enriches the rest of us as a result.
Musing on her duties as a woman and a mother, she writes, “But what I want first of all is to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of the eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.
“I want, in fact — to borrow from the saints — to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense,” Anne continues. “By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, ‘May the outward and inward man be at one.’”Singleness of the eye? Purity of intention? Now how is this going to affect my work ethic. You figure it out.
|< Prev||Next >|