A major part of the Christian vocation should the nurturing of delight in this universe of wonders…a delight similar to God’s own playful joy in creation which we see traced for us in the Scriptures. (Hoezee, Remember Creation, p. 8)
A few years ago, I was in a small group that was by and large made up of men with full-grown kids. It was a delight to meet once a week with men who had already lived a lot of life and were eager to share their hard-won wisdom with a young pastor and family man.
One of the guys in the group named Scott enjoys a particularly close relationship with his two grown daughters and their husbands. I commented to him, that it was a rarity to see such connection across the generations. I asked him what his secret was and he said, “Camping. When we camped together, we got away from the world and just enjoyed each other. Years later, I think it was those trips that bonded our family together like nothing else.”
I grimaced. Camping. As much as I love the outdoors, I still love beds. And showers. And really good food. And my wife wouldn’t even broach the subject with two really little kids. But, seeing my face he encouraged me to rent an RV and go that route. And so we did. Three of our most memorable trips have been RV camping through the national parks.
Looking back, I realize that while I loved the RV experience of being in campsites and still sleeping in a good bed, it was the RV that helped us get our young family into nature and adventures (white water rafting, hiking, biking, etc) and away from TV and other media.
And that became the key to most of our vacations. Go outside and play together. Maximize nature and adventure. Minimize media. Get ourselves more connected to the Earth and more disconnected from “the world.”
As a person who believes that part of my Christian vocation is to be “a light to the world”, I have found that vacations are the perfect time to “unplug”, “recharge” by disconnecting from “the world” and "refocusing" on my family, my God and this good world that God has made for us.
In her book, The Shelter of Each Other, Mary Pipher tells of her psychotherapeutic technique of working with families in crisis. She insists that before she sees them the first time that the whole family do two things for six weeks:
- Eliminate all media in the house.
- Do something OUTSIDE together as a family once a week.
According to Pipher, a curious number of the presenting problems in the family are "healed" before they ever set foot in her office. Maybe there truly is something "re-creative" about "recreation" done well.