Friday, March 13, 2009

Taking a break . . . kinda

So today officially ends my Spring Break! And before you ask the same question that everybody asks, "How was your break?", let me quickly clarify something -- it wasn't really a break, not in the real sense of the word or at least not what I envisioned. I didn't go anywhere special, do anything special or even dream about doing anything special. I kind of feel like I didn't have an option to do any of that. I mean how can one plan when there's a mid-term exam to finish (which I just finished up at 11:20 p.m. I had 90 minutes to take it.), and papers to write, a debate to prepare for and assignments to read -- some of which require multiple readings in order to understand it. I haven't even started on those yet. But nonetheless, you can probably understand my disappointment. A Spring Break just doesn't seem like such a break if you can't take a break from the work you were hoping to break away from.

I was actually feeling that way about an hour ago. And in the midst of all of my complaining I didn't realize that maybe this time actually did afford me a break from the norm. Again, it wasn't like I would have envisioned. But a call from a friend a few moments ago put my week into perspective. My classmate was sharing details about her quiet retreat experience. Candler made it possible for a few students to get away on a silent prayer retreat. (Of course you know that I wasn't doing that!) Now my classmate didn't actually follow all the rules. She had her DVD's and computer in tow -- distractions which weren't really encouraged on the retreat -- after all it was meant to be a time of prayer and reflection. "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to take my things," she said. "I didn't even know we weren't supposed to talk, but I had my own room, so I could sit up in my bed and watch movies and paint my toes."

She said it was great! Just the break from her hectic schedule was enough to rejuvenate her.
I thought about that. This time off hadn't been all bad. I had somewhat of a quiet prayer retreat of my own. This past week, I slept past 5:15 a.m. sometimes to almost 10 a.m., didn't leave the house if I didn't want to, although I had dinner out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday -- I was invited to a birthday party at this swanky chic restaurant that's become my new favorite place -- and on Thursday I had a girlfriend's brunch at my other favorite spot, The Flying Biscuit Cafe.

You know, it's funny how the simple things bring joy and a measure of freedom. And it's funny how easy it is for us to overlook these moments as just another day, instead of an opportunity to take a breath and enjoy the scenery, enjoy the time. Spending those few hours with friends was just what I needed. Having that time alone during the day was just what I needed. For a moment I was reminded of aspects of my life before the demands of professors and classwork. I was reminded of the times when I just enjoyed being.

And it was a wonderful memory. But more than that, for a few hours during my so-called Spring Break, it was my reality. And I thank God for that!

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