In the past, I though that that I had to do everything right. This included ensuring that I worked eight hours for eight hours pay, and getting my money’s worth when traveling. Wherever I went, whether Madrid or Geneva, I packed my days with activitiesf, afraid that I would miss an event or place. My energies would start to flag around dinner time, so I never enjoyed the night life anywhere. But, it was important to see everything I could, because I might only get one opportunity to travel to that certain locale.
Friends and colleagues mocked this near obsession that left me with little time to just rest and enjoy everyone and everything around me. In Madrid, Spain alone in 1998, I took every day trip available, and when I returned home, I was so tired and could hardly remember all that I saw and experienced.
Yet, I still find that my thinking sways toward “doing-it-all” traveling. But, I am rethinking it today, remembering the sweetness of damp and sand-filled feet. The specter of missing out on one ruin or museum seems to be leaving me, and that’s really good news.
While we were in Alicante, there was a national holiday in Spain, complete with flags flying from nearly every window. The public beaches near us (we were only 100 meters from the beach!) were packed with people of all ages, several generations in partnership, enjoying the day together.
It was refreshing to see grandmothers so enraptured by their grandchildren. There was a sense of family that appears to be missing in America today. Three or more generations dining and playing together tended to reinforce the belief that family is the most important thing in Spanish culture.
As I watched the people around me rest their bodies and enjoy la vida, I realized that moments of simply resting and enjoying family, not trying to make every minute a doing moment, are just as important to having it all as running from place to place and not absorbing anything about them. I often argued with Douglas to set an agenda for the next week, so that we did not miss anything of importance.
I tried to cajole him into making a list of all the things possible to do in the region. Then, we would place times beside each one and do them, especially as most places like museums and ruins are closed on Mondays. Douglas countered with going to the beach and reading a book or just wading in the sea.
That is what we did, and now I understand better that resting is a part of enjoying life, that you are not wasting time when you just stop and enjoy the scenery and the people around you. I am doing something, and we may need to teach younger generations to rest, because I was raised in an era in which idle hands were the devil’s workshop and to not be productively busy denoted laziness.
But, Psalm 131:2 states, ” But I have calmed and quieted myself. I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child, I am content.” I have weaned myself from the need to do everything, and I am ready to just enter into the rest that God provides each day for me, without thinking that I have wasted the time. Enjoy some pictures from the beautiful Huertas del Cura palm garden in Elche, Spain.