Saturday, July 9, 2011

Leisure Becomes Work and Work Leisure

This is the time of the year for vacations. Vacations are sometimes seen as interruptions in a busy schedule and grudgingly taken in order to return to work refreshed. And sometimes vacations are seen as an eagerly awaited, joyful reward for having worked. To be busy is often considered a sign of competence and ambition, the key to success. The Desk Columnist of the Catholic Times provides us with another look at vacations.

Is it a fact, he asks, that when we are busy we are more likely to have success and happiness? On the contrary, our columnists says, "When we realize that leisure time brings into our life success and happiness, we arrive at a new level of understanding work and leisure. Work then feels like leisure  and leisure like work."

He divides  vacations into three types. The first type describes a person who looks forward to resting from his workload, getting rid of the the burden of his work and desiring the vacation to recoup his strength--rest from work is what is needed.
The  second type describes a person who actively enjoys the leisure. Rest is seen as creative, bringing interest and satisfaction into life, as if  existence itself were waiting for this moment of joy.

The third type accepts the vacation without giving it much thought, as an appropriate break in the work routine.

The columnist poses a question for his readers to ponder: What type are we?

Our leisure time should allow us to discover the joy and beauty of life. In our restful moments we should be able to see, he says, how joyful, how creative, how full of love life is, and, with gratitude, experience these  blessings in our life.

For Christians what we are leaving  behind when going on vacation is not as important as where we are going while on vacation.  And that should be, says our columnist, back to the God who made us. Our tired bodies and minds are searching for the rest that comes by returning quietly and deeply to God. We can be  sidetracked by a culture that wants to keep us busy, pressed for time even during vacations.  What is needed, he says, is more of the second type of vacation: the leisure time that finds the peace and rest in God that will continue even after returning to the workplace.                                                                                                          

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