I’ve had my share of sad vacations. I’m well aware my emotions don’t go away when I do. Taking trips, moving cities, changing jobs or churches - all are enticing experiences with their promise of newness, but they’re rarely the answer to my problems. What I’m tired of is me, and I’m always here.

The past weeks have been a wintry mix of uncertainty, relational stress, difficult conversations and unexpected burdens. Exhausted and withdrawn, I grew paralyzed in my vacation planning for the year because why would I spend money to be lonely and overstimulated in a different city? As a physical manifestation of my mental and emotional burnout, I caught a cold and lay in bed hoping the world would stop spinning long enough for me to find my footing. The last thing I felt like was leaving my apartment, much less the city.

But an unplanned work trip to NYC rolled me rudely out of bed and the next afternoon I found myself climbing the stairs of a midtown subway station and gazing up at the shining skyline of one of my favorite cities! Two days before, I was convinced vacation was overpriced escapism. But in the moment, I couldn’t believe my luck. Even though doomsday brain continued to intrude upon my weekend, I still ended up having a jam-packed, breathless, inspiring good time. Just as my cold lingered, my feelings never went away, but I had refreshing new emotions to interrupt the monologue.

Since then, the fever has broken and hope feels less like an unproven panacea. My heart is still heavy with the state of the world, but I don’t want my pessimism to shut me off from positive possibilities. That’s no way to live. I wasn’t looking for this trip, but it happened, and God said that it was good. Sometimes I need a hard shove to find my wings. Next time, I hope I’ll take off sooner.

Adrian PatenaudeComment