Wednesday, August 06, 2014

On Holiday

From tomorrow, I will be on holiday. I’m looking forward to getting away with my family.

Knowing various people who are on holiday at the moment, or just returned from holiday, or going on holiday within the next month, has given opportunity to reflect on what holidays are for.

There is a school of thought that suggests that, given the amount of extra work that needs to take place before going on holiday, and the amount of extra work that needs to be dealt with on returning, not to mention the decompression time it takes to actually enter-into being off work, and the time spent preparing to re-enter ‘everyday life,’ there is no benefit to taking holiday at all.

Given the demands of work many of us live with, and the effort of juggling time-off-work across a team, many other people simply default into not taking all of the annual leave they are entitled to.

The purpose of holiday is not to recover from work. That necessary space needs to be built-into our daily and weekly routines (and yes, I know that is easier said than done).

Neither is the purpose of holiday to build-up some reservoir of energy to take back into the workplace. We are not batteries. Rest, and its benefits, cannot be stored for a later time (another reason why we need to build-in rest as part of our daily and weekly experience of life).

The purpose of holiday is the recognition that there is more to life than work – even if we are blessed to find work a fulfilling experience – and the ongoing practicalities of life that are part of our regular routine.

God has given us a world to be enjoyed, as well as – and, indeed, even before – cared for. A big world to be discovered, as well as a small patch to tend.

Holidays are for exploring: landscapes and cityscapes and spaces of the imagination; beaches and mountains and bookshops and art galleries…and building a treasure-house of shared memories.

Holidays are holy days, days to recognise that all of life is gift, not reward; and to be reminded that the world will not end if God rests, let alone if I do…

I am about to go on holiday. It will be very good.

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