What I did on my summer vacation

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

I sipped wine around a campfire. 

I stayed up too late. 

I watched my 13-year-old nephew battle ocean waves...and win. 

I breathed in salty sear air, clean mountain air, and the first tantalizing hints of autumn air. 

I convinced Dan to pull over at (most of) the scenic views. 

I paid $10 for day-old sandwich in colonial Williamsburg, which I suspect would have horrified the Founding Fathers as much as the $3 water and $9 “Freedom Burger.” 

I got lost. 

I got sunburned. 

I got rained on.

I got buried in the sand by giggling nieces.

I read Barbara Brown Taylor from a rocking chair on my sister’s front porch, where a troupe of cows are her closest neighbors and where even in August it’s cool enough she doesn’t need air conditioning. 

I ate Marie Callender’s razzleberry pie and my sister-in-law’s gourmet cupcakes

I made up for it by racing kids across swimming pools and running like a maniac from a Virginian skunk.

I wrote down silly stories, imagined sentence by sentence by Uncle Dan, Uncle Dave,  Aunt Rachel, Grandpa, Chloe, Katie, Ryan, Michael, and Jon.

I got annoyed with family. 

I laughed till my stomach hurt with family. 

I prayed with family. 

I remembered that I don’t live on the internet or in my writing, but in my body—in feet that sink in wet sand, in skin that burns in the sun and sweats in the humidity, in hands that thumb wrestle, in lips that kiss, in hair that gets stiff in sea water and soft in well water, in breath that can turn hot coals into flame.  

I recalibrated. 

I repented. 

I got over myself. 

I got ready. 

I came home—simultaneously exhausted and refreshed— with sand in my shoes, stories scribbled on paper plates, jeans that smell like campfire, towels that smell like chlorine, and a laptop I didn’t open once in seven days.

I came home with the true treasure of rest:  the realization that the world doesn’t need me as much as I need the world, that as much as there is to give, there is so much more to receive.

I stopped and paid attention for a while. 

And it was good. 


When was the last time you took a real rest? What did you learn from it?

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