Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vacation Report



Hello friends. We are entering a time warp for a while because I will be posting about adventures that happened a week or so ago.  Today I will tell you about our family vacation that happened a couple of weeks ago while I'm really getting ready for Synod Youth Workshop.  Then I'll tell you all about Junior High Jubilee while I'm really at Synod.  I'll report on Synod when I get home. Things should settle down in a couple of weeks or so. In the meantime, if you think you know where I am you just might be ahead of me.

This is the entrance to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios.  It was a really cool park.  Much attention to details here--the bathroom had Moaning Myrtle on their PA system.  Truly spooky and cool. Butter Beer is good.It was generally awesome.

This Vacation of a Lifetime that we had been planning for almost a year appeared doomed for a while. Two days before the trip was due to start we had a trifecta of disasters: a tropical storm started building in the very spot we were headed.  Then I tripped over a curb, did a faceplant and almost broke a rib.  And Emily came down with a stomach virus.

But Matthew Crownover saved us.

Matthew is a friend and chaplain at Presbyterian hospital. The Dallas Morning News published an interview with  him the day before we left on the trip.   Matthew is also an “ultra-marathon” runner, which makes an interesting combination.  I have no idea what an ultra-marathon is but I do know that he wears those funny shoes that duplicate barefootedness, so I know he’s pretty hard-core. I was at a Spiritual Practices retreat with him a couple of years ago and so I knew some of his spiritual grounding. The newspaper article connects the 25-100 mile trail runs to the spiritual conditioning it requires in addition to the physical.  He says the long solitary runs enhance his ability to listen to patients and understand them better. It's  a very challenging sport. 

One of the things he said in the article jumped out at me:

     “It’s not about avoiding suffering but redeeming it.”

So when we were presented with a tropical storm and aches and  pains I just made sure everyone had a rain poncho, waterproof shoes and plenty of aspirin. And we set out to redeem the vacation before it even tried to fail us.

And it worked. The tropical storm died out. And Emily and I both were back to normal by the time the plane landed in Orlando. We spent two days at Universal Studios then got on a Disney Cruise ship for the Bahamas. And I have to admit that I'm not really sure the whole "Bahamas" part even registered.  Out of the three days we were supposedly there we spent most of our time on private land that was so commercialized and sanitized and I couldn't swear on a bible that we were actually in the Bahamas.

I have to say that there were times that it seemed vacations are mostly opportunities to buy souvenirs that say you went to a place that sold souvenirs.

But family vacations are also good time to spend with each other, sometimes just walking around bumping into each other, everyone going to the same place to see the same thing, comforted by faith that you will enjoy what happens next.--operating as a part of the greater whole.

 I keep telling you, people: It's not about the destination but about the journey to get there.

Maybe sometimes while you're walking you bump into each other or other times hold hands to make sure you don't get lost.  Or sometimes just holding hands because you remember you like that person.  Vacations are so much just the luxury of time and place; being in the same place at the same time.  Remembering that even if you're lost at least you're all lost together.

I took this video because the Frank Sinatra song was playing overhead in the "New York" section of the part and I started feeling so relaxed and in love with my whole family I wanted to just capture the moment.



After we spent a couple of days at Universal Studios we got on the ship.  The most awsesome feature of this ship was the Aqua Duck.  It's like one of those Lazy River kind of water features in a clear plastic tube that circled the deck.  The girls loved it.






One of the highlights of the week were playing with sea lions in Nassau.  You just haven't lived until you've been kissed by a sea lion.


and Sarah surprised us all by parasailing 700 feet in the sky over the water.

 


So, what was my favorite experience of the whole vacation?  Out of all the Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences we had looked forward to for almost a year?  What memory would I relive every day of my life if I could?  It was the first video I showed you.   Wandering around with each other, being in the same place at the same time.  Just enjoying each other. Enjoying watching each other have fun.

I remember the year Six Flags opened.  I think it was around 1961.  I was in the 8th or 9th grade and Daddy took me and a friend to see this brand new amazing amusement park.  Years later, but before I had kids of my own, I remembered the day and commented that he must have had a really boring time all by himself that day with two teenagers.  I'll never forget what he told me, "You have no idea how much fun it can be to watch your kids have fun."

Amen, Daddy.




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