For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.
|Port Townsend Beach Hike-June 2012
A few weeks ago, I was reviewing my PTO (paid time off) from work and realized that I needed to take some vacation before our fiscal year was up on June 30. So I decided to take last week off and use the time to get some things done around the house and catch up with friends. What a wonderful, relaxing week it was!
I really didn't have much of an agenda for my week off, although it tied quite nicely in with our community's annual Rotary Auction. For those of you who don't live on Bainbridge Island, this event happens every year and is touted as the world's largest rummage sale. It's quite amazing, and draws people from all over. This year it will fall on June 30th and, conveniently enough, the week to start dropping off your unwanted items started last Friday. This gave me the impetus I needed to purge my house of stuff. Once I get into this role, it's hard for me to stop. I really get a lot of satisfaction out of giving things away that we no longer need. My husband would probably say that I could be a little more sentimental. For example, yesterday when we were loading things into the car he pulled out this interactive globe that the kids loved when they were small. He looked at me and said he remembered how much they liked to play with it and shouldn't we hang on to it? I gently reminded him that it had been sitting on a shelf for at least the last six years and that there was another family out there that would get as much joy out of it as ours. The globe was put back into the box and delivered to Rotary.
The other thing I did last week was catch up with friends. I went for walks, drank coffee, sipped wine, listened to live jazz and just spent time with people I hadn't been with in a while. It felt somewhat decadent to squeeze so many delightful conversations and interactions into one week, but I'm grateful I did. I think that sometimes given the structured lives we lead we can forget the importance of just being with friends and catching up. These rich encounters really feed my soul, and I know I never regret time spent with a good friend.
I was also able to get some reading in. I finished The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, which if you like historical fiction is a must. I was swept back into the world of ancient Israel told from the points of view of four women. I also read the thought-provoking article in The Atlantic that's currently making the rounds called "Why Women Still Can't Have it All". I'm still mulling this one over...perhaps another post. I attended a lecture by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a Harvard professor who read from her new book Exit: The Endings that Set Us Free. It's a book I want to pick up as it explores the experiences of different people with stories of transitions and exits. Finally, I just started reading my dear friend Toby Schneider's book The Offering: An Unexpected Journey. Toby died in 2005 and finished writing this weeks before her death. Her brother Howie just had it published and it is an absolute joy to read her wise words and hear her voice again. She remains a true inspiration to me.
So that was my week away from work. I am coming off of it feeling renewed, a little lighter, and definitely richer for my encounters with friends. While I think we all know how beneficial time off is, I have a new appreciation for sticking close to home. Sometimes we just need to step out of our routine a bit to realize that the things we need are actually very close at hand. We don't have to venture far to gain much.