We are just back from vacation: a road trip to places some of us have seen before, and other places new to all of us. It was both restful and busy, and I am thankful to have gone and to be back. To me, nothing says happy to be home like spending eight full days in hotels and half a day in the car with your family.
And these are the people I love the most.
I am a loner; I like to have space and time to myself. Big crowds are no problem to me – they are usually short-lived. But to live on top of others for a period of time? Even if it’s really a relatively short time? Even if it’s a relatively short, fun time? I am depleted, cranky.
My family understands. In fact, they can be kind of like this, too. As soon as we spilled out of the car and into our cozy, familiar house, we scattered like mice to our own spaces. The kids disappeared into their rooms, my husband to his office, me to the kitchen, the loft area that contains my stuff, the bedroom. I have been gifted with several areas of my own in this house.
It takes a while for the space to really sink into my bones, to iron out the kinks of irritability that inevitably make themselves known to the members of my family. Let me go through the mail; let me get the laundry started; let me make a grocery list, let me make dinner. Let me be, I say. My family’s need for space dissipates after a few minutes, maybe an hour. After this period of time, they are ready to come together again, to be as a family again, to laugh and talk and argue about the TV. I am not there yet. I always regret being so short with them.
I tell myself, “Jesus took time to go away by himself. He needed his time, and so do I!” But then I am reminded: Jesus went away not just to remove himself from his loved ones; he left to pray, and he always came back refreshed and ready to do more work. I leave to be alone with my thoughts, and they aren’t always holy.
I also remind myself that I am most certainly NOT Jesus. I am human, and therefore I sin, and I should cut myself some slack. And when I go off by myself for some space, I should also pray. Pray for rejuvenation, for a fresh outlook, for patience with my family, for a thankful and grateful heart.
The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone in the wilderness to pray. Mark 1:35 (NLT)
As soon as Jesus heard the news, he went off by himself in a boat to a remote area alone. Mark 14:13 (NLT)
Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” Mark 14:32 (NLT)
One day soon afterward Jesus went to a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. Luke 6:12 (NLT)