The Hard Part of Vacations

The minute I was done reading Ann Voskamp’s post about how they decided to take their family to Haiti, instead of going to the Grand Canyon, I was ready to pack our bags, and head out the door!

“I think,” he looked out across the fields to the east, the sun coming up determined. “If we’re going to go away together — I’d rather serve together.

“ Like – what if instead of planning a getaway — we lived a giveaway?”

What if we believed the greatest gift is to give  — and we actually lived it?

It’s a great read. Very challenging, and slightly uncomfortable.

Would you want to give up a nice vacation in a fancy resort to go on a family mission trip?

want to, but…I don’t, at the same time.

There’s something ingrained in me that says vacation should be about doing what I want, eating what I want, sleeping when I want, and spending money on what I want.

Self-indulgence in every form, basically.

What??! Where did that come from?

Culture? Human nature?

Not sure, but after a long talk with Ben under a full moon beside the ocean one night in Mexico, we decided that our family had experienced enough self-indulgence. Two hot vacations in one winter felt a little extreme, even if they were free, so we decided to brainstorm about how we could make this trip to Florida a little more about others, and a little less about ourselves.

We decided that since we were spending the week at a retirement village for missionaries, we would try to come up with ways to be a blessing to the missionaries.

I have no idea if we’ve succeeded, but it’s been a fascinating time so far.

We’ve played piano duets, and listened to stories. We’ve seen collections of trinkets from all over the world, and looked at pictures which have given us a small glimpse of what full, beautiful lives these people have lived.

piano duet

I am not suggesting that we should all start booking mission trips to Haiti, or retirement villages, instead of resorts in Mexico.

I am all for resting when we need it.

I’m a big fan of family time, and lots of it.

But what does that look like, exactly? Who says it needs to be an expensive resort, throwing around loads of cash so everybody can have whatever they want or eat whatever they want, just because it’s a “vacation”?

Could I get over my selfish desires, and redefine “vacation”?

Confession: We totally went to Disney. And we really enjoyed the beautiful weather, as well as the swimming pool. I felt I should tell you that, because I’m really not trying to sound self-righteous about the fact that we played a few piano duets for the missionaries.

What I want to say is that we’re asking ourselves some uncomfortable questions, and we haven’t figured out the answers yet. In the meantime, we are striving for some balance in our view of vacations, and we’re having a lovely time with Mickey Mouse and the retired missionaries. (Not at the same time, although that might be fun, too!)

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