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.

15 Replies to “What a Vacation is Really All About”

  1. Sounds simply amazing! I know it will be a while before I get a vacation, so I am working on ‘joicing’ in my free time (7:40 AM-10:50 AM). Too much drama and worry going on here and I have simply had enough and refuse to let it get me down anymore. An online friend in a Naranon group said something one day that struck me as profound. She said that God gave her a wagon and a pebble. He asked her to take that pebble up a mountain. On her travels, others were placing their pebbles, rocks and even boulders in her wagon making it too hard to pull up that mountain. God had given her one job and she was failing at it because of taking on too many others problems. So she had to unload it all except her pebble and carry on.
    That really struck something inside of me. I have these 4 ‘pebbles’ God entrusted to me, to take up the mountain. He gave me everything I needed to do it, but I am taking on too much of other peoples ‘pebbles’ and I have been struggling…So every once in a while, I have to stop and remove the ones that don’t belong to me and carry on!
    Thank you for sharing your ‘joice time! Drums soothe me so I think I would like a drumming!

    1. Cathy, I love the pebble story. It is so true. When we take on other people’s “stuff”, our load gets too full. Only managing our own pebbles is plenty and we should keep it that way.
      Glad you have a bit of time to yourself in the morning. I didn’t realize how tired/stressed I really was. Take time for yourself. It’s really important.
      xo Joanne

  2. Beautiful said. When I want my Joy back. I go to my sister’s it is so quiet and you can set on the porch and see God’s work. it may be a bald Eagle setting at the pond. The pond lilies are almost in bloom. A sand hill crane may come in the yard. Donna feeds them. The new born calves in the field are kicking up their heels and it is so cute to watch. The neighbors guinnes or chickens will come to eat or peck at the ground. It is just Heaven there.

    1. I think that is just like a vacation Linda. It sounds beautiful. And I am glad you are there to be with hDonna. When I am among nature and its wildlife, I feel at peace too.
      xo Joanne

  3. I am so glad Joanne! I love that line from Anne Lamott too about getting our ‘joice back! This makes me think about how I might need a vacation too…a real one;-) Thank you for sharing this!!

  4. Hi Joanne, drumming on the beach?….WOW…how awesome! That’s the first time I ever heard of that. I imagine that was an amazing experience! I love Ann Lamont and how great you actually experienced first hand the “feeling” of getting your “joice back”! What a great memory!

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