We missed trash day last week. I slept a little late and heard a truck beeping on the road... I knew it had happened. Of course, our trash can is the full one with the lid that won't shut all the way. We just moved, what can I say?
Trash day is Tuesday, I did not want to miss it again. As Joel flopped into bed, I darted out the back door to roll our moving trash to the road.
As soon as I stepped outside, I was engulfed in the raw magic of this summer night. The courtyard behind our apartment is full of old trees that hang low, the humid air creating condensation on the leaves above and glass on the windows of our building. Everything smells warm, earthy, and wet. All around me the cicadas are chirping their night songs. There is a bullfrog somewhere far away beating his breast like a drum. All I could hear is the cacaphony of bugs romancing one another in the tropical night sky.
Did I mention that I live almost in the heart of Charlotte?
I came home from work tired and discouraged realizing I needed a nap. After lazing around the apartment since my return home, I am suddenly full of life again just from walking down the driveway with a trash can. How could this be?
Earlier today, Joel and I were lying in bed mourning that we don't really feel well (as it seems to go after a season of high stress, the body suddenly reveals it has actually decided to fight off the cold you didn't know you had right when you think it is time to relax and enjoy the stillness). It was in this moment Joel wanted to know what I consider a vacation.
A vacation, to me, is really getting away, being in nature, and not having to do anything (choosing to do something is different than having to do something in my book). It also involves just being with Joel or being alone. In my mind, a vacation is a time to restore,revive, and retreat. This is the time when my hidden introvert barges out and takes over.
He stared off into some unseen thought, "When was the last time you had a vacation?" I had to think about it, now that I created a definition it has to be last labor day weekend. That was a long time ago. Just the realization sent me reeling into more of those grumpy,uncharted waters that we both seem to be wading through.
I have charted the adventures from the past month of blessing and rich encounters so that anyone who reads this blog knows what all we have been up to. The truth is, none of those trips were a vacation to me. All of them were fully incredible but I returned home from each one more exhausted than I was before I left. This is how I can tell the difference.
Stepping outside tonight, felt like a little adventure. In fact, I am still outside writing this blog post. A great gift of our move was getting a back porch. So here I am pondering...maybe I have taken plenty of PTO. Perhaps, I have gotten away more than most people do in a summer. It is possible that anyone reading this thinks I am a spoiled brat for thinking that I need even MORE time away.
For the moment though, stepping outside into this sultry night of echoing bugs, hooting owls, writing to the light of my cintronella candle is an escape. I do feel a little more relaxed, a little more revived than I did before I walked out that door.
This evening has been a very good reminder to a woman who is feeling a bit off track and out of sorts. When vacations are not possible and a break seems too far away, it is important to remember that the practices that feed our souls are our daily recharge buttons.
Perhaps you feel the same way? As you drove home from work today, did you think it would be nice to go for a walk? Did you consider calling some friends to play basketball or go for a run? Did you imagine waking up early to stroll to the farmers market before work? Did you sit out on your porch and sip tea or wine just because you wanted to take in the evening? Did you actually follow through with any of those fantasies once they came to you?
It is really easy to slip into the darkness of the mundane and predictable when you are already drained. It becomes hard to grasp the daily splendor that is so close at hand. However, when those little thoughts come to you just take hold of them and let them be your guides. They come from your inner most spirit, pouring from the unconscious that speaks only the truth- you need a break. Listen to that guiding impulse and let yourself be amazed by the simple power of those restorative moments.
I still would like a vacation, but tonight, I feel myself coming back to life. Thank you, God.