It is not hard to believe that sometimes people are so busy they can't even go on vacation. Must the car run out of gas before we fill the tank again? Paradoxically, the word "vacation" comes from the Latin vacare, which means "to be empty." What happens on vacation is the necessary process of emptying ourselves of our many concerns. It facilitates an essential distancing from our everyday lives that allows us to physically and psychically relax and obtain perspective to see how we can live more authentically and faithfully. Viewed in this way, a vacation is less a luxury than a vital touchstone to our deepest reality. So take a week with no other task than to relax and enjoy yourself. You'll see the power in doing nothing. Whether it be at the shore where waves soothe your consciousness, or hiking through a national forest and being enfolded by the silence, such breaks help us recover an essential dimension of ourselves that can be lost in busyness. The rest and relaxation, the change of pace and place, let our imagination catch its breath and play a crucial role in the renewal of the self.

Rise Up From Losing a Friend

The loss of a friend after decades of friendship leaves a deep and lasting hole in the soul. The way to rise up from such a depth is to let the separation give new perspective to the rarity of such a gift. Let the bond that filled the years roll out like a receding tide revealing small and varied treasures: shells and sand dollars, those individual likes and interests shared and gradually absorbed, one for art and travel, the other for food and music; a shark's tooth of humor; the flotsam of life's twists and turns; smooth, shining pebbles chattering of multicolored memories, and there, almost hidden in glistening seaweed, a pearl of joy, a mystery deeper than the ocean-the awareness that an intimacy enriched by the shared pull and draw of what is of the Spirit is not gone but endures, even now, to be perfected in the life to come.

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