Happy Summer! I am actually on vacation — I wrote this meditation last week before I left. I hope I’m having a fun and relaxing time! And I hope that you will get some time off as well this summer, even if it is just a long weekend or two.
As a spiritual director, I’m often asked to help my directees with their spiritual lives and prayer practices. Some of them are working on getting some prayer practices going, while others want to go deeper into the spiritual life they already have. Their practices might consist of daily prayers, scripture or devotional reading, silent meditation, long walks in nature, or any number of other kinds of disciplines that help them connect to God.
I find it fascinating, though, that many of them struggle to keep praying when they are on vacation! One of the main reasons people are challenged in starting or maintaining spiritual practices (just like more physical kinds of exercise!) is that they feel that they just don’t have time. Yet vacation is often when we have fewer time constraints, when we have much more freedom to set our schedule. So why don’t we keep on praying, or reading scripture, etc?! Perhaps we feel we need a vacation from our faith (and/or from God?)! Or for those of us vacationing with family, there may be a shortage of quiet/alone time. Or maybe it is just that we are out of our usual routine, and so it doesn’t even occur to us to keep up our spiritual practices.
Whatever the reason, please allow me to push back gently! Keeping prayer and other spiritual practices going during vacation can lead to a deepening and increasing richness in our lives. Without the usual bustle and distractions of our lives, we may find unexpected dimensions to our faith. Even if there is a shortage of alone time, bringing some meditative intentionality to everyday tasks like brushing your teeth or doing dishes can be fruitful. And there is great spiritual benefit in having fun, benefit that can enliven our prayer practices as well!
Finally you might spend some time with one of my favorite prayers from our Book of Common Prayer (p 825):
For the Good Use of Leisure
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of
refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our
leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our
spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!