What a Vacation is Really All About

My Sisters and I on the Beach at Siesta Key
My Sisters and I on the Beach at Siesta Key

I got my ‘joice back, as my pastor says, ie if you want to re-joice, go get your ‘joice back. -Anne Lamott

The above is one of my favorite lines from Anne Lamott. She talked about getting her ‘joice back in her book, Plan B- More Thoughts on Faith, and since then has mentioned it many times on her social media posts.

I know exactly what she means. As a recovering over-doer, I tend to….well, overdo. I love lots of challenges, my plate full to the brim, and service work that is meaningful. It’s a delicate balance. And when that balance gets over or too far under, I am one un-joyful person.

It had been three years since I experienced a vacation of more than a couple of days. A few days here and there at a friend’s house, sporatic park/forest weekends and that was about it. Call it a financial decision or whatever it was, that was the truth.

All I can say is, I had no idea how tightly wound my brain had become. Filled with too many responsibilities and stress, it had been a long time since I truly allowed time for myself. I couldn’t remember when I had last read a book cover to cover, one of my own indications that I was too overloaded.

So it was spiritually perfect that on the very first full day of my Florida vacation, I went to church in Bradenton Florida. It was St. Barbara’s, a beautiful Greek Orthodox church. My Aunt KC had invited me long before I left Pennsylvania and I packed a black skirt just for the occasion. On the ride there, we talked about many things (mostly related to my mom) and when we arrived at the church, I soaked it all in.

St. Barbara's
St. Barbara’s

It was a gorgeous church, full of mosaics, icons and a very eloquent priest who talked about lent and repeating behaviors that we know don’t serve us. I loved his sermon and the beauty of the liturgy.

Then, that night, Aunt KC and Joanie told us there would be drumming on the beach around 7pm. We all wanted to go. In reality, the drumming began much earlier and we could hear the beat all the way up in our condo. By the time we made it down, there were a couple of hundred people and lots of drums.

More Drumming on Siesta Key

It was amazing. I have attended only one drumming event before but this was on a much larger scale. There were lots of people. Lots of drums. The sun was going down. It was a magnificent sight.

Picture by my sister Cally Jamis Vennare
Photo by my sister Cally Jamis Vennare
Lots of Drums!
Lots of Drums!

By the end of the week, I felt like I had my ‘joice back. It was there and I could feel it again. Joy in life, joy in whatever lay ahead, joy in gratitude for a vacation much needed.

Picture by Cally Jamis Vennare
Photo by Cally Jamis Vennare

Moral of the story: we all need a good vacation every once in a while.

Join me on my graceful journey.