It certainly was needed and, although it was only for three days, we needed a brief break and a short vacation. Due to continuing physical problems, numerous doctor tests and appointments, and many church commitments, we have been unable to get away, even for a few days, for over two years. The last time we took a "real non-working" vacation was almost two years ago and it lasted about 15 hours since Dianne was hit with shingles just after we arrived. She still suffers from that condition. We had to go right back home to see the doctor. Oh yes, a week later I had my second back surgery which was not very successful.
Several times since that "memorable vacation" we tried to schedule another getaway, but each time we had to cancel at the last minute because of physical problems. And a planned trip to Texas was also called off because of our problems, even though we lost the cost of our airfare and conference registration.
Unless we are visiting relatives, such as in Wisconsin, or attending a conference, as we had hoped to in Texas, my idea of a vacation is to rest. I realize that most of our friends and blog readers would prefer much more activity, but at this point in life that is not what we want or need.
Since I retired, our preference for a brief getaway has been to go to Ocean City, Maryland, for a few days and stay in the Courtyard by Marriott on the boardwalk. Now it is rather expensive so we can only go off season. But then it is more economical and usually not crowded. We get a room on the third floor with a balcony which overlooks the boardwalk, beach and ocean. We love it. Now this might surprise you, but we don't even touch the beach or go to the ocean. Recently we haven't even walked the boardwalk due to our problems with walking. We don't go to expensive restaurants since our budget doesn't permit it and most are closed off season anyway. Our favorite restaurant, Chick-fil-A, is close and open weekdays and gets most of our business.
On our recent trip I did what I love to do. I sat on the balcony, watched the folks pass by on the boardwalk, read, slept and enjoyed watching the ocean waves. I also did some meditating and talking with the Lord. That was my type of vacation.
I really enjoyed watching the people. All types were there - young, old, in between, skinny, fat, skateboarders, runners, bikes of all types, handicapped scooters, folks with canes, school groups. fishermen, deaf folks, and those of many different cultures and nationalities. It was fascinating just to watch them.
It seemed that the majority of the teens and 20's were carrying their smart phones with them and were texting as they walked. Now, probably because I am old, I don't understand that. We don't have a smart phone and don't text because we can't afford it. But if we did, why would I want to spend every moment of my vacation talking or texting? How is that relaxing? Now I understand how a cell phone is good to have if an emergency would develop, but to spend all your time texting doesn't make sense. You miss all the beauty of God's creation in the surf and beach and sky.
But I had another observation as I watched folks pass. I couldn't help but wonder how many knew the Lord. I thought of the many people groups represented and the need to share the Gospel with them. The first line of the song "People Need the Lord" kept going through my mind - "Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes. Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where. On they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears." Sadly, how true. I also thought of the children's song we used to sing, "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and "Jesus Died for all the Children". I guess those words are no longer "politically correct" because of the colors mentioned. But that doesn't change the truth and need of the words. So many people from all over the world, enjoying the beach now but probably headed for hell without the Lord.
But the best part of this brief vacation was the time spent enjoying the beauty of God's creation and spending time with Him. The beauty is incredible and His presence is amazing. The weather was outstanding. The waves were relaxing to watch. The sunsets were spectacular with various shades of purple, pink and blue. I don't know anything about ocean currents, but I couldn't help wonder how many miles the water traveled and how many countries these waves may have touched over the years. It is hard to even visualize how vast the ocean really is. And as I watched and marveled and meditated another children's song kept going though my mind.
Wide, wide as the ocean, high as the Heaven above.
Deep, deep as the deepest sea, is my Savior's love.
I, though so unworthy, still am a child of His care.
For His Word teaches me that His love reaches me everywhere.
Thank you Lord not only for your beautiful creation but even more for your love which reached out to me even when I was unworthy. And thank you that your love can reach one everywhere - even those who passed by me on the boardwalk during these days. May many come to know You and experience the new life which only You can give.