I have just been blessed with a few days of family vacation time in the gorgeous Colorado mountains. My dad has a rustic cabin next to the Conejos River, and for many years the extended family (and some special friends) meet there to relax, fish, play games, and eat WAY TOO MUCH. It is a special time and provides sweet memories that last for the rest of the year.
Family get-togethers help me practice being grateful for varieties of talents and differences of opinions! Although we get along amazingly well even with the diversity represented at these gatherings, our personal preferences definitely surface…
- Some like to talk while others want to sleep in the hammock
- Some want to fish; others want to read on the porch
- Some sing; others play games or do puzzles
- Some enjoy “olympics” competitions; other a talent show
- Some shoot; others hike; some run trails
- Some tell jokes; others laugh ’til they cry
- Some sleep in late; others go to bed early
- Some cook; others just eat… and eat… and eat
There is a lot of freedom at the cabin – not much judgement or criticism when we choose to do our own thing. There are usually plenty of people around for any activity, and there is plenty of space to find solitude too. Experts teach how to play guitar or fish or build something; those who think they are experts have a captive audience for their lectures.
We work hard to accommodate each other; bigger families get the bigger rooms, and showers get shortened (except by the teenagers) to save hot water. There is no agenda or schedule or routine. We share groceries, dinner prep, and clean up. We watch out for each other’s children and dogs – with only minimal complaining. It is a place of real community… and love.
Reflecting on that special time, I wonder why I don’t act like that more often… more at rest with time and more at peace with the people around me. Why can’t I judge less what others choose and enjoy more fully what I am doing? Why can’t I give up my space, comfort, and expectations without a negative attitude?
I am hoping this year that I don’t just remember the fun activities, but also the heart attitudes and the shared service that made it so much fun. I hope I can apply those principles not only to vacation, but to everyday life also.
What does your family enjoy together? What do you learn from those times?