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Recently someone wished me a "good summer," and seemed to refer to summer as a special time of less stress, more relaxation. Newspapers and magazines often publish lists of books for summer reading, or for reading on the beach. (I have never found beaches good places to read. Too much sun in the eyes, too much wind and sand!) It is the classic thing to think about summer: that it is a time different from the rest of the year. Some of that comes from our time in school early in our lives, looking forward to summer vacation. Home Message More About Us Scheduled Retreats
How is your summer? Is it a time of more relaxation, a slower pace? I really wonder if it is that for most people. Most people still go to work every day, even though some of the time may be spent on vacation. In fact there was a report on TV the other day which announced that people in the United States get less vacation than most countries in Europe, and that, even when people get vacation time, many do not use all of it. This, then, leads to more stress in our lives which affects our health, mental and physical, and our relationships. The advice of the reporter was to take your vacation time and make good use of it.
This being a message from a retreat center, I think you can guess where it is leading. Whether in summer or any other time, we may want to think of various kinds of "vacations," including those having to do with our lives of prayer and spirit. "Vacation", of course, comes from "vacate," to "empty out," to "leave space." For our well being, we need times of emptying out some other things from our lives so that we can pay attention to what is within, pay attention to what is really going on in ourselves, what is going on in our relationship with God. Sometimes our relationship with God is reflected, for good or ill, in our relationships with other people.
The person concerned with the life of spirit, with decent human life, needs "vacations" of various lengths. There are the little ones each day that include prayer and reflection, or "just being." It is a healthy thing, once in a while, just to sit and stare out the window. (That is the value of the porch or deck. Just to sit there and be and notice what is around us in the world. Now, doesn't that sound good?)
Then there are the longer times, such as the retreat weekend, or perhaps even a day spent at the retreat center, or park, or, yes, the beach, "vacating" ourselves so that the Spirit of God can get through to us.
So, however your summer is going, pay attention to your need for vacations shorter and longer, so that you may be better in tune with God, yourself, and your neighbor.
Fr. Tom Zelinski
Fr. Tom Zelinski
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