Recently we spent a week’s vacation on the east coast of Vancouver Island. As we sometimes do, we have taken a peep at the weather forecast before we left. Each time we looked it was different. Finally the week itself began and the sun was shining as we left North Vancouver. As we drove north on the Island we were treated to a lovely spring like sunset, with the mountains to the west.
The first morning, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and the weather was warm for the time of year. With few exceptions, the whole week consisted of sunny days and often without a cloud in the sky. It didn’t seem like March and technically still winter. We found a sun trap on the beach and read and took it easy for a while. We were even treated to a few late winter sunsets.
Towards the end of the week it suddenly occurred to me that the word vacation is only one letter different from vocation.
I was reminded of the ‘vacations’ Jesus took during his ministry. Time to be alone with God, away from the crowds, and even the disciples. It was a space for reflection, for resting and preparing for what was to come. Often perhaps it was a chance to think more clearly about the call from God. During Lent we recall the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness in preparation for the beginning of his ministry. Each year we use this season to take stock, reflect and prepare for Holy Week. Part of the focus for these days is being able to stop, and think about our lives, where we are headed, and whether we are in harmony with God.
Perhaps our own lives are little different from the life Jesus lived. We live our vocation in seeking to be faithful to the Call we understand we hear from God. That call is lived partly as an individual, but most often in community, with other people in some specific context.
God calls us to live our life to the full and live it, not for ourselves, but for one another and for others, for our loved ones, for those with whom we share a common life. And God call us to vacation to step aside at times to reflect, to refresh and rest in readiness for continuing with our vocation.
We were so blessed to have a full week of sunshine for our vacation. Time to rest and reflect and prepare for the next leg of the journey.