My passport lies beneath the fruit bowl’s shadow next to a random penny and within sight of a drinking glass brimming with sea shells. At the end of my kitchen counter (still, always, and forever cluttered) is a grey pebble, a mountain in impossible, undeniable miniature. Passport, penny, sea shells, pebble: all mementos of my recent visit to the other side of the planet, an adventure born of longing, stubbornness, miracles, hard work, selfishness and benediction. Now – nearly two weeks after I staggered off the plane straight back into home’ (and winter)’s enthusiastic embrace – I’m right back in the mayhem and reality of my life. Except the horizon’s canted a little to the left, the Pacific Ocean no longer seems quite so wide and my pants are cheerfully tighter than when I left. I don’t want to put my suitcases away. I want to go back.
I want to go back to the beginning of my holiday, and soak it all up again. Two weeks glutted with laughter, sand, aspen trees, hugs, incredible food, noise, root beer and the boom giggle rush sizzle whisper swell and spark of deep, fluffy and electric conversations with friends through it all. Two weeks of my motherheart gnawing on the thousands of miles and kilometres between my sons and I, while a long forgotten and entirely parched garden within grew fat and lush on the hours of discussion, rest and contemplation.
Some holidays I’ve loathed coming home, other times couldn’t wait to walk through my door. This holiday, I was nauseous leaving home for the airport. Leave my sons, my responsibilities, my familiars all for something as frivolous and useless as a holiday? Insanity! Selfishness! Stupidity! Dereliction of duty! Actually, turns out it wasn’t. God stomped and danced and laughed all over my fortnight away, sat right down beside me in airports, watched grinning as I jumped into a Texan swimming hole and punched my arm whenever I (needlessly) worried about my sons. I didn’t go on holidays to escape my life, but have certainly brought my holiday back to my life, and dare say my holiday has brought me back to life too.
So I don’t want to pack away my reminders. My suitcase still – fourteen hectic days later – stands half open, a black battered conch shell spilling the muted roar of memories into my bedroom. I’m not going to pack it away until I’ve written everything down, so I can revisit it all, and one expansive, specific moment in particular. Of being felt up by the Atlantic Ocean under an exultant sky, laughing and sobbing and speechless at the immensity and impossible perfection of dreams, pennies, sea shells, pebbles, a blue covered passport and a crazy loving God.
What did your last holiday teach you? What do you want to go back to do, see, taste, breathe, feel? How do you find time to rest, contemplate, spend time with friends and make sure you don’t get personally parched? Where is your dream holiday location?