I returned from vacation yesterday afternoon, spending the remainder of the day: unpacking, doing laundry, sorting through mail, watering dying plants and trying to fight a feeling of "let-down". When I have a particularly good vacation, it is always hard to come back to real-life, and this vacation just over was simply wonderful. (The picture here is a sunrise on the Provincetown flats, at low tide, taken from the terrace of the place I rent.) There is a big part of me that wants to go back there, right now, but I know that I can't: pastoral responsibilities keep me here, things I have agreed to accomplish keep me here and, of course, the need to make money so I can afford to pamper myself and go there again next year keep me here.
One of the things I did whilst on vacation was stick to a decision to participate in a self-imposed "internet blackout". I didn't check emails (for either personal or St. Thomas'), I didn't read my favorite blogs or write on this one, I didn't read my newspapers and periodicals I have bookmarked. If I wanted news I watched TV (which I kept off most times) or bought a newspaper. I painted, biked, hiked, let my dog run free on the beach with other dogs, I read a lot, prayed a good deal and just let things go.
Jesus is tearing into the Pharisees today. One of things that jumps out of these verses for me is the need for us to take care of our insides before we can take care of others. My self-imposed internet blackout was part of that personal cleaning this vacation afforded me. I felt like I was on retreat, without the rigors of a retreat house (although those can be very nice too). I feel much refreshed and ready, although 10 days is really not enough time. Nevertheless, there are (no kidding) hundreds of emails to read through, and I think I am ready, I think I am sufficiently centered to face what comes, although you may catch me daydreaming about sunrises over water.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.