Also, if you want to “play”, you have to plan. You have to find out what there is to do in places you may want to go, and then decide if you want to do any of the available options. Those decisions take time and thought, and it make a chore of planning a vacation.
However, I am blessed with lots of friends all over the US and around the world. So, my vacation planning is developing into “visiting friends”. About a month ago, I decided I needed to plan a vacation, so I picked a date almost out of the air, and decided on a direction. There were at least four people in the Grand Rapids, Chicago area that I hadn’t seen in far too long. It is cooler up north than heading south, so that seemed the logical direction to aim for. I wrote to them and found there were five people I could see, three in Grand Rapids and two in Chicago. They were going to be home during the specified time, so I made flight reservations and my work was done.
I’m at the end of my visit now, and it has been very successful. Some days have been very intense as I hear the stories of what my friends have been through over the years. Some are dealing with caring for an elderly parent, some have struggles with siblings, many have health issues. As you probably know, it is always easier to solve other people’s problems than it is your own. So, as long as I’ve had some time alone to replenish my reserves, it has been enjoyable. I’ve seen lots of new things. I even found a $1.00 bill in Lake Michigan as I was wading in to go for a swim.
My friends in the Chicago area have taken me to a Lapidary Museum, the architectural cruise in Chicago and Saturday night we went to hear the Chicago Symphony in Ravinia. I’ve had a tour of Wheaton College and eaten some nice meals both at home and in restaurants. In addition to the expected visits, I’ve had at least two unexpected ones. One young lady is planning to go to work in North Africa in a few months, and we got together for a chat. I was able to answer some of her questions and help her learn some Arabic sounds. Another young woman is about to start her MA degree at Wheaton. She had studied under me in Africa, so we got to catch up on life over lunch. She will go to the concert with us later tonight.
It has been good not to think about my own problems and plans, but to focus on others for this 10 days. Vacation is as much a rest of the mind as of the body. I feel a closer connection to each of these people I’ve visited, and have a great appreciation for the way God has worked out each timing so perfectly. Hopefully when I get home, I will arrive with a new perspective, new energy and a good plan for scheduling other vacations.