Newsletter #427 – An Irish Rejuvination

Where I live, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with a big parade and, for some, lots of Guinness beer. For me it’s a  reminder of two weeks that my wife and I recently spent in Ireland. As anticipated, the countryside was beautiful, the people were incredibly friendly, and I was bored while I came off the adrenaline addiction that drives most of us who have hyperactive lifestyles. Those days in Ireland brought reminders of:

  • Deliberately pulling away from cell-phones, computers, media and hectic activity. Once we adjusted to the change of pace, the rest, walks and quiet were rejuvenating.
  • Reconnecting with nature. God’s creation rarely is noticed or enjoyed when we’re running non-stop. It takes time and determination to slow down so natural wonders and beauty can lift us up.
  • The necessity of reflection. Sitting by the Irish Sea or overlooking Galway Bay were starting points for me to think and journal about my values, lifestyle, spirituality, career direction and relationships. Like Jesus, at times we need to retreat to a quiet place, to pray and communicate with God. This doesn’t happen without making time to pull away.
  • People in our lives. Sometimes the ones who are closest get pushed aside, buried in our busyness. My wife and I took time to talk without rush or interruption. We thought about our kids, our marriage, our relationships and our life direction.
  • The richness of cross-cultural experiences. Some countries and communities are radically different from where we live. Ireland seemed a little more familiar. But whatever the differences there is refreshment in connecting cross-culturally. Taking a vacation near home is more comfortable but far less invigorating than stepping across borders and appreciating other cultures.
  • The need for flexibility in times of change. Ireland reminded us to slow the pace, look to the future, and not get rigid or stodgy. We can miss a lot if we stop reading, changing and growing.
  • The inner transformations that come when we take time to connect with God, know his Word, listen for his voice and learn from his people.

How and where do you rejuvenate? Please leave a comment

11 Comments

  1. My wife, Kris and I, take a weekend 3 times a year to step aside for relaxing and planning. We schedule 3-4 weeks a year for meaningful vacation time with our immediate and extended families. I look forward to scheduling an annual or bi-annual sabbatical.

    Reply

  2. Gary, your up-to-date informational posts are always valued! This one is more personal and it is rich in its message. We who benefit from your hectic and driven professional activities appreciate what you consistently give in your writing ministry. It is also good to hear about your own renewal and reflection.

    Blessings,
    Steve Greggo

    Reply

  3. Enjoying the beauty of God’s creations, can make us realize that we are running a fast pacing life. I think we should start making a change in our lives and start a low pace life full of God’s grace

    Reply

  4. Very good thoughts Gary. I have not been able to slow down for the past year after getting married and taking on a new position at work. The new position happens to be the best position so far in my career but also the most stressful and demanding.

    Also, taking care of the first year of marriage at my age has produced major adjustments as well, but good ones! As my Bride and I come up on our first Wedding Anniversary on April 10, I will be taking every Friday off starting April 1st through June 10th to spend time with her and most importantly, extra time with the Lord.

    Blessings to you Gary.

    Reply

  5. Thank you for such a good and personal article. There is a small town in Guatemala, where I live, called “Panajachel” that is at Lake Atitlan. I have spent the best times there, just disconnecting myself from my hectic schedule. In one occasion while I was sitting by the lake it started raining while the sun was going down. The view was incredible and the experience of feeling the raindrops falling on me gave an incredible sensation of peace and relaxation. In my constant rushed days, many times, in my mind, I go back to that place, and try to retrieve that feeling. I think that WE need to go back there again soon.

    Reply

  6. Thanks Gary! it’s so true, we need times to relax, to think. We are running all the time, with lots of things: family, ministry, work, school, social life, etc…but we need time to evaluate, and to renew ourseleves in the Lord. I need to schedule one, I really need it.
    Thanks again for your post and God bless you!

    Reply

    1. I cant express how much I appreciate the messages from you Pedro, from Sergio, Greg and Steve. All you guys are friends from way back:
      * Pedro, how much I appreciate you, value our friendship, appreciate your ministry and fondly remember our times together in Peru. When are you coming back for a visit?
      * Sergio, my Guatemalan son, didn’t we go together one time to Panajachel? I picked up the capital letters in the word WE. Yep, we need to connect more than we do, and it is past time for us to find a way for us to get together in Guatemala.
      * Greg, how many times have we talked about your career, your (previous) single status, your life journey here in our community. I was very grateful for the updare. Thanks for your post.
      * Steve, I very much appreciated your comments about he personal nature of this post. You are close enough to see my often hectic and driven pace, and to nudge me to meet your for lunch or breakfast. It is past time for us to do it again. These are refreshing times over coffee, not far from home, always interesting and stimulating for both of us.

      Reply

  7. Those who take refreshing holidays must have comfortable incomes.
    The rest of us cannot afford such lovely respite. So we keep on with our routines, lest we fail to earn our dry little crust. This may be a kind of
    cruel cycle that drives us into further dispair, mediocrity and poverty.

    Reply

    1. I have hesitated a little to respond to your comments. It seemed more about where we spent our time on vacation and less about the point of the newsletter. I don’t want to appear defensive but sometimes people can take “refreshing holidays” and go to a “lovely respite” even when they don’t have comfortable incomes. In our 46 years of married life I can only think of two or three occasions when my wife and I took a holiday like we took in Ireland – and this was a bed and breakfast type of trip. I mentioned Ireland because it was St. Patrick’s day when I posted my newsletter but normally we vacation (when we do) by staying pretty close to home. Whenever we go overseas it is because we have been invited to speak at a conference and have been able to tack on a few extra days afterward. These have been rich times that we would not have been able to afford otherwise. I confess, however, that connecting with people internationally is a high priority for us, even with international people in our own neighborhood. At times God opens doors and we are grateful when this happens. That said, thanks for your honesty. And please keep responding to my newsletters.

      Reply

  8. Most of our travel abroad is connected with ministry! We try to keep mondays free and sometimes go to a Christian conference centre deep in the countryside but this is spasmodic We try to pace ourselves with interspacing of prayer and work. family ( grandchildren )takes quite a lot of time at present. My wife and I talk and prayer together regularly during the week. We talk often of visioting Ireland! but have not made it yet.
    peter

    Reply

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