Even if you can’t get away, at least take a break

As we stand on the threshold of summer, I hope that you will have the opportunity to get away. Perhaps your plans include travel to visit distant family, or maybe some vacation spot where you can see new things and enjoy a change of pace.

On the other hand, a getaway may not be in the cards this year. If that’s the case, you are certainly not alone. The economy has not been exactly kind in recent months, and the idea of a vacation may seem a distant memory.

Either way, I do hope you get away, for there are lots of ways to be refreshed that don’t require a plane ticket or a hotel reservation. Just because this may not be the year for your dream vacation doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise a few ways to renew your soul and spirit.

Allow me to catalog a few things that most of us can do to make the most of the summer:

1. Read a good book. Take some time to browse in a bookstore or local library. Find something a friend has enjoyed, or read one of those books that were on your high school reading list that you never got around to. Schools recommend them for a reason.

2. Read the good book. You know the one. It’s that Bible that’s been gathering dust on the shelf. Find a good readable translation, and read it. Spiritually, it will bring you closer to God. Culturally, it is the basis of much of our culture, art, music and literature. Besides which, it’s full of really good stories!

Learn to listen. Try less to be interesting, and concentrate on being interested. Gifted listeners are rare, and they are always loved.

3. Get some exercise. You’ll get to smell the summer flowers and the new-mown grass. You’ll lose weight, and your body will produce those good chemicals that work like a free anti-depressant (OK, I’m preaching to myself here).

4. Get together with a neglected friend — that person you’ve been “getting around” to calling for too long. Catch up.

5. Get up early. It’s a myth that sleeping late refreshes the soul. You miss the best part of the day. The early morning is quiet, cooler, and the phone doesn’t ring.

6. Learn to listen. Try less to be interesting, and concentrate on being interested. Gifted listeners are rare, and they are always loved.

7. Have a picnic in a state park. Our park system is a treasure, and most of us hardly ever use them. There’s nothing better than the smell of charcoal mingled with the echoes of children at play.

8. Volunteer. Do something to get outside yourself. Feed the homeless at The Bridge, or teach English as a second language at Vickery Meadow Learning Center. Or if you want a “serving vacation”, call me and I’ll tell you how you can go to Nicaragua and install a stove for a family.

9. Get a physical. You’ll gain a sense of wellbeing. Men, get your PSA checked. Women, have a mammogram. Everybody my age, schedule a colonoscopy. It could save your life, and give you lots more summers to enjoy.

10. You knew I’d get to it: Go to your place of worship. Good parking and seats are more available in the summer, and God will meet you there.

Even if you can’t get away, at least take a break

As we stand on the threshold of summer, I hope that you will have the opportunity to get away. Perhaps your plans include travel to visit distant family, or maybe some vacation spot where you can see new things and enjoy a change of pace.

On the other hand, a getaway may not be in the cards this year. If that’s the case, you are certainly not alone. The economy has not been exactly kind in recent months, and the idea of a vacation may seem a distant memory.

Either way, I do hope you get away, for there are lots of ways to be refreshed that don’t require a plane ticket or a hotel reservation. Just because this may not be the year for your dream vacation doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise a few ways to renew your soul and spirit.

Allow me to catalog a few things that most of us can do to make the most of the summer:

1. Read a good book. Take some time to browse in a bookstore or local library. Find something a friend has enjoyed, or read one of those books that were on your high school reading list that you never got around to. Schools recommend them for a reason.

2. Read the good book. You know the one. It’s that Bible that’s been gathering dust on the shelf. Find a good readable translation, and read it. Spiritually, it will bring you closer to God. Culturally, it is the basis of much of our culture, art, music and literature. Besides which, it’s full of really good stories!

Learn to listen. Try less to be interesting, and concentrate on being interested. Gifted listeners are rare, and they are always loved.

3. Get some exercise. You’ll get to smell the summer flowers and the new-mown grass. You’ll lose weight, and your body will produce those good chemicals that work like a free anti-depressant (OK, I’m preaching to myself here).

4. Get together with a neglected friend — that person you’ve been “getting around” to calling for too long. Catch up.

5. Get up early. It’s a myth that sleeping late refreshes the soul. You miss the best part of the day. The early morning is quiet, cooler, and the phone doesn’t ring.

6. Learn to listen. Try less to be interesting, and concentrate on being interested. Gifted listeners are rare, and they are always loved.

7. Have a picnic in a state park. Our park system is a treasure, and most of us hardly ever use them. There’s nothing better than the smell of charcoal mingled with the echoes of children at play.

8. Volunteer. Do something to get outside yourself. Feed the homeless at The Bridge, or teach English as a second language at Vickery Meadow Learning Center. Or if you want a “serving vacation”, call me and I’ll tell you how you can go to Nicaragua and install a stove for a family.

9. Get a physical. You’ll gain a sense of wellbeing. Men, get your PSA checked. Women, have a mammogram. Everybody my age, schedule a colonoscopy. It could save your life, and give you lots more summers to enjoy.

10. You knew I’d get to it: Go to your place of worship. Good parking and seats are more available in the summer, and God will meet you there.


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