I don’t think I knew what a vacation was before I accidentally purchased that plane ticket to Germany. And yes, it really was an accident.
My daughter had seen how overwhelmed I was with figuring life out as a new single mom, and had mentioned the idea of me going to visit a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in 18 years. A German friend. In Germany.
“Wouldn’t that be great, mom?!”
I told her it was a dream. It was impossible. It was too expensive and there was just no way.
She wasn’t convinced. Using my phone, she proceeded to look up cheap flights to Germany. Low and behold she found the deal of all deals. But the page reloaded and it was gone before we could confirm it wasn’t some sort of scam. I told her it didn’t really matter because there were way too many other factors to consider before I could even think about booking a flight overseas.
Still unconvinced, the next morning she tried again.
“Look, Mom, here it is!”
I took the phone and again was searching for the hidden scam. I was taking awhile and I didn’t want the page to reload again and lose this so called “deal,” just in case it really was a deal. (Not that I could actually go, but who’s thinking about that?) So, I did what most intelligent people wouldn’t do, and I put in my credit card info hoping they would take me a little more seriously and not kick me out by reloading the page again.
Well, they took me seriously alright. I kept clicking the “next” button or “continue” button (or whatever button it was) looking for the fine print that would reveal the scam for what it was. And then before I knew it I clicked it again – only this time it had said, “Book Now.” In that moment, (and ultimately in God’s sovereignty) I just didn’t process that “Book Now” actually meant “Buy Now.” I know. It’s quite simple. No one else has this problem processing basic information. But there you have it. That’s the way it happened.
And then came the “Congratulations!” message that actually made my heart sink.
“What in the world did I do?” I asked aloud.
“You booked a ticket to Germany, Mom!” my daughter exclaimed with joy.
“Ummm…where’s the ‘back’ button? Surely there’s a way out of this.”
Nope. The deal was sealed. I was going to Germany.
Or was I?
You see, most people with animals and kids and jobs have to actually plan a trip overseas. What will I do with the kids? What about work? How exactly am I paying for this? Usually you ask a friend if it’s a good time to visit. You don’t tell them when you’ll be there. Especially if they live on the other side of the ocean.
So many things could have prevented this accidental vacation. And in all honesty I expected them to. But they didn’t. God worked it all out because He knew I needed it. He provided friends to watch over my kids. My employer said I was free to go. My tax refund came at just the right time. I really kept thinking it was all too good to be true and thought for sure something would prevent me from going. It wasn’t until my flight took off that I actually believed I was going. And I cried. My heart was overflowing with gratefulness to God as I received this vacation as a gift from Him. I put all worries aside, left everything behind, and fully embraced the gift of my accidental vacation.
After describing my absolutely perfect trip to my dad upon my return, he said, “It sounds like you had a vacation.” And that’s when it dawned on me. I just had an actual factual vacation. I was like, “Ohhhh, this is what a vacation is!” I felt like a kid who had just gotten off her first roller coaster ride. “Can we do that again?!” 🙂
That accidental trip to Europe not only showed me the loving care of my Heavenly Father to look after me, but it showed me just how important vacations are and why we should book them on purpose. I’m not talking about a trip to a large city where every day is cram packed with people, entertainment, and amusement parks. I’m not talking about the vacation where one has to enter into a full time recovery program upon return. I’m talking about a leisurely vacation full of free time, unscheduled days, breathing space, and a little peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Now, there is a time and place for all sorts of vacations so I’m not telling you there’s one right way to vacation. But when life has taken a turn and taken it’s toll, when you seem to have lost your way and your mind, when your plate is too full and you can’t think to clear it off, that is not the time for entertainment. That is the time for a vacation. A real vacation. A vacation for the soul.
Ecclesiastes 4:6 (NASB) says:
One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.
Come back next week and I’ll tell you what made my vacation so perfect and share a few things you might want to consider for your next get-away!
In the mean time, I’d like to pass on this wonderful ambient mixer to add to your everyday fika. Click here to be swept away to a Scottish coffee house on a cold winter day. 🙂
*Main photo from unsplash.com, taken by Mohamed Hassan.*