I always hate it when people flaunt their warm weather escape photos when the rest of us are freezing our tushies off. Every time some blogger writes about how we all need a couple days a month where we can just escape to recharge, I get so annoyed and think WHAT type of a world do you live in where you have that luxury every month????
So first, a disclaimer, in the form of a story.
A couple months ago we were in an especially low place, an especially discouraged place, a place from which I might have snapped at James during one of his visits “You need to figure out something to look forward to and I will MAKE IT HAPPEN.” I don’t include all those low moments on ye old blog because the emotions closest to our hearts need more privacy than the rest. They are softer and more raw, more delicate and painful. Anyways, in that moment, James declared that he wanted a beach vacation to look forward to, something that we could count on, regardless of the uncertainty we were facing. However, the caveat was that we didn’t really want to spend much money. I will confess, I might have taken to angry praying. I’ve been reading the Psalms lately and deciding that we think prayer way nicer and more boring than it was originally intended. My prayers were something along the lines of Hey God. It doesn’t exactly feel like you are playing on our team these days, so if you wanted to give us a free beach vacation to show that you are maybe still interested in this very weary couple – that would be great.
Let me be clear: I do not believe that God is in the business of doling out beach vacations to show he cares. He doesn’t have to, because salvation should kind of be enough. But every now and then he delights in surprising us. As in, after a couple days of my bratty prayer, someone asked if we wanted to use their extra time share points, and our beach escape weekend was on the calendar.
When it rolled around last weekend, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It has been a rough year, and an extra rough last month. I told James the other night that it felt like I had spent the whole year twisting tighter and tighter and it had built up to the point where I felt like I was going to snap, going to rip apart.
Cue warm breezes and teal waters. We spent three days in South Florida, soaking up some much needed sun and quiet breezes. We walked on the beach, drank fancy drinks by the pool, and ate tacos that I am still thinking about. We watched way too much TV and managed to find a local donut shop that blew my mind. People, I basically have the spiritual gift of finding donuts wherever I am, and don’t even pretend like this is not a real gift. We drove down to the Keys and went snorkeling in (at? over? around?) a coral reef, marveling at the colors and trying to avoid the fanged barracudas with less than benevolent expressions. We talked about the strangeness of Christmastime in the sun, the vastness of the sea, and the total impenetrability of the ocean. We rested and ate and walked and remembered, hey, we really like being married to each other. I can’t tell you how much I needed that.
When we left DC, it was a dreary grey day where night seemed to fall too early. But when the plane peaked above the clouds, I was blinded by the beauty of the endless stretches of pale pink fluffiness, tinged with gold against the blue of the sky and the warm sun. It made me think about this past year, a year that in many ways has been cloudy, dark, and long. But that’s only because I can only see it from where I am in it, looking up at grey clouds and longing for the break, for the sun. Gazing out at that sunset, I took a deep breath and thought about the new year that will start soon. I felt the tightness untwisting, loosening, and letting me breath a little easier. We still have some loose ends from this past year to tie up, some messes to clean up, but when I look back, I can see more than just grey clouds now. I am looking for the bits of light and color that were there even when I couldn’t see them.
Great post. Sometimes ‘re-creation’ makes us new and brings back our belief in hope and goodness. We are being created new creatures over and over. I also especially like the comment about prayer and the Psalms. I have battled depression for several years and have always found Psalms to be better at expressing my thoughts to God, than myself. Thanks again.
Yeah, the Psalms get real up and personal with God. None of those “nice” prayers we are used to!
Boy, can I understand this! Living in Arizona and catching the news with its announcement of 5 feet of snow up north, my husband and I would look out at our sunny skies, shrug and smugly snigger, “Can’t relate.” Well you know the expression, “Man plans, God laughs?” Well living in overcast, cold northern Ohio now for a pastoral position, we ain’t laughin’ now!!! Thanks for the post my friend, Blessings,
Ha! Welcome to WINTER!
Sorry for posting so many Nice pics! But you guys DID say you wanted all the details! Part of the reason I do it though is that I am soooooo very grateful to be in a much better place (literally and figuratively/metaphysically) than I usually am during the fall semester of any given year. I want to do it homage because I appreciate it and am not taking it for granted.
P.S. If you want to be in a better place next year, do Nice!
P.P.S. Not really, though, because I want to do it again.
You are totally and exception, because you LIVE somewhere nice now, you’re not just showing off travels. Plus, you post funny things.
P.P.S. Ok, I guess not… you might stay?
So good. You are just the best writer.
you. the beach. God. marriage. faithfulness.
He does beautiful things!
I just dance in the background eating donuts.
Thanks for your post. You write so beautifully, Hannah. I really enjoy your blog and how honestly you share your faith, it’s always encouraging!
Thanks again 🙂
(From someone in the Southern Hemisphere where we have sunny Christmases!)
I hope that you enjoyed your sunny Christmas! Even if it goes against every Christmas movie and Hallmark card ever…. ; )
Love this. Thanks for sharing! Someone told me their best marriage advice is to always have something to look forward to. Happy you were able to get away!
I’m pretty sure that is indeed the best advice! It can be a little thing like movie night at the end of the week, or a big thing… but it makes everything better!
This is great! Thank you for sharing! Last year (when Will was in Germany) I had a similar moment… Or two or 13! We booked a trip back home. It had been two years since we had last seen our families and I just needed us to all be together. And yes, salvation is enough, but sometimes we forget that and need more. It blows my mind how full of grace He is and patience and that he doesn’t just show up – he SHOWS UP! He is too good!
I remember you telling me that are our awesome café date this summer! You two have gone through so much!
P.S. We are planning a trip this summer and Scotland is on the short list….
If this is how you always write, I would buy your book. Beauty, brokenness, humor, hope, expertly woven descriptions. Bring it on.
And I’m so thankful for your trip. I don’t know you, but I was smiling through your post, just joyful on your behalf. Weary, wedded folk find solitude, and surprisingly, Sriracha. [That is, if those tacos included some heat.]
Blessings to you, and keep up those bratty prayers. It encourages the rest of us to remember we’re not less than human.
You are too sweet! I would love to write a book… but I have no clue what I would say in it.
Thank you for the encouragement! And yes, those tacos had ALL OF THE HEAT and they were amazing.
“we think prayer way nicer and more boring than it was originally intended.” I love that!
It’s so true! Here’s to angry honest prayers!
oh my word I laughed so hard when i rad about your Spiritual Gift of Doughnuts. You are just wonderful and you life is an inspiration just to relax a bit and enjoy life. And not try so hard to be a good Christian. (Though my qualms about that stick hard to me). I love seeing pictures of you and James in love and having fun.
Girl it is a REAL and NECESSARY gift!!! And in my personal experience, trying to be a good Christian, instead of trying to just love God and do life, is the best way to be a really, really, bad one. : )
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