The season of holiday-ing is upon us, finally. Fr. Emmanuel has already left for his vacation back home in Nigeria and he won’t be back until the middle of July. Then it will be Fr. James’ turn as he leaves for holidays at the beginning of August, and continue his stay in Ireland on a 4 month sabbatical until Christmas. Brother Paul will be taking his vacation in August before returning to the seminary. I hope to take a few days here and there for some motorcycle trips. We will still try to get some work done during the summer months, albeit at a slower pace.
I’d like to mention a few thoughts about the spirituality of vacations. The purpose of vacations is to rest, learn, and reconnect with people and places. Here are some principles that I came up with that can help us to have a beneficial vacation season:
1. Be nice to people. I know it sounds very simple, but there is a tendency in all of us to become frustrated with change. Whether we are visiting places and people different from us, or we welcome vacationers to our area, it’s important to pay attention to being kind and welcoming. I know that we can be frustrated by a sudden increase of traffic during the summer months, or by different approaches of people we do not know. It’s best to stay calm, be kind, and smile. Let’s be good hosts to visitors, and good visitors in places we are visiting.
2. Be fascinated by new experiences. What helps me when I experience places, people, or situations that are new to me is when I try not to judge, but simply ask myself “what can I learn from this experience”. Everything can be a learning experience if we view ourselves as perpetual students and not as masters who know everything already.
3. Be Christians at church. There will be many new faces who will show up to our Masses during the summer months. Some of them may take your seat, some may sing louder than we are used to, some may seem confused and may need some assistance. Let’s be welcoming, pleasant, and happy to see them. Say hello to strangers who show up at your Mass. Let’s be good hosts.
4. Take a productive vacation. If possible, take a vacation that will still engage your prayer life, your learning, your interests. Too many people think that the best way to vacation or to rest is by doing nothing. Take a break and do something beneficial, educational, spiritual. An afternoon with a good book or with the Bible in the back yard can be a mini vacation. Be good to your body, mind, and soul on your vacations; they will thank you. Fr. Wojtek Kuzma