I've been yearning for a vacation for months now. It's not that I don't have a surplus of vacation days; I just haven't known how to gracefully bow out of the never-letting-up-responsibilities of life.
Recently, though, I got desperate. I asked my prayer team to pray that God would provide a vacation, and then I blocked off this week as a quiet "stay-cation" since I didn't have the energy to plan a full-fledged vacation.
God's Gracious Provision
Last week I asked my advisory council if they had any ideas for how I could spice up my stay-cation. One woman's response caught me off guard, "My husband and I have been praying about who could use our timeshare in Florida; we can't make it this year."
God lavishly provided.
It didn't take long for the details to fall into place. She okayed it with her husband; my boss approved the time off; a friend helped me find the steal of the year on a direct flight (no small thing when it's just seven days out!); and the rest is history (well, future, I guess).
God lavishly provided.
The only problem . . . I would be going alone.
But No One Vacations Alone!
Vacationing solo just isn't done. Even eating out alone has a stigma in our culture. I wasn't the only one who considered this. More than one person asked if I'd be okay, vacationing by myself for a whole week.
Am I ever really alone?
But should the fear of loneliness cause me to turn down a timeshare on the Atlantic Ocean? Isn't that same fear of loneliness what's causing my friend to stay with her abusive boyfriend? And am I ever really alone?
I don't doubt there will be moments during my vacation when I feel lame and left-out in this world geared for two, but in my friend Lina Abujamra's words, I'll use the bitter pill of loneliness during those times to press into the very heart of God.
Besides, there's no avoiding the unannounced visit of loneliness—it sneaks up on the best of us—even when we're surrounded by friends.
So I'm embracing this vacation as a retreat with God. I'll bike and think and swim and read and explore and write and strike up conversations with strangers and get a tan and eat fresh fish from the ocean and prepare for next week's speaking engagement and pray and write old-fashioned letters to people and sleep in and catch a sunrise and . . . above all, rest.
Call it lame to vacation alone; I call this pure gift.
How about you? Would you ever vacation alone? Eat out alone? Why or why not?
"I will never leave you nor forsake you" –God (Heb. 13:5).