When Emily and Sam were little, ages four and two, John and I took them on a vacation to Lake George. It was a lovely vacation. We stayed in a little cabin with two tiny bedrooms, a living room and a small kitchenette. It was just a short walk from our cabin to a small sandy beach. We stayed for six days and, during that time, the cabin was our “home base” as we explored the area. Each time we turned onto the dirt road that led to our cabin, Sam would heave a contented sigh and say “Ohhhh, my vacation.”
To Sam, all the fun side trips were okay, but returning “home” to the cabin was the real vacation. In and around that tiny cabin, he could play and sing and explore and relax. To this day, when John and I return home from a trip or even from a hard day at work, we will say to each other, “Ohhhhh, my vacation.” It is a signal that we have returned to our oasis, our peaceful place, home.
I thought of this tonight, when we returned “home” to our hotel after a long, hard day at the FIRST Robotics competition. At the competition yesterday and today, the students on our team did everything right. The robot performed so well. Still, they ended up in the eighth place alliance going into the quarter-finals. They were matched against the #1 alliance and, though they worked very hard and performed well, they lost. It is a hard lesson to learn – that you can do everything right and still lose. I struggle with the “fairness” of it all, and I am supposed to be an older and wiser adult.
We walked back to the hotel from the Arena, worn out from the emotions of the day. It was a long, hot walk and I was so tired. When we opened the door to our hotel room, I could feel the cool air refreshing me and I immediately thought, “Ohhhh, my vacation.” Here, John and I could escape the noise and lights and excitement and stress and crowds. Here I can find rest and peace. I thought how funny it is that we can make a place “home” after only a couple of days. I guess it’s true that wherever we can be alone together becomes our safe haven. A thought conditioner sprang to mind:
This is the refreshing. —Isaiah 28:12
God gives us “the refreshing,” a place or a time to take a breath and be renewed. For Sam, that tiny cabin in Lake George was “vacation” from all the running around and sightseeing. For me, this little hotel room with John is filled with peace and comfort. In here, today, I could regroup and come to terms with my own disappointment. Then, I was able to listen and be understanding and helpful when Ben came to us to express his own frustration with the events of the past couple of days. There were many lessons learned this weekend. For me, the best lesson was that God can unexpectedly provide “the refreshing” or “my vacation” anytime and anywhere I need it.