Drive-In Vacation. Breaking the Pattern

The gravel crunched loudly under the slowly rolling tires. Hand brushed signs directed us down the long pathway. As we reached the attendant’s booth, crinkled money in hand, my eyes met the woman bathed in the yellow glow of incandescent light. “Two, please.” I paused a moment then blurted out, “I’m a drive-in virgin.” Her motion stopped and her chin stuttered. “You’ve NEVER been to a drive-in before?” she gasped. “Nope, this is my first time!” My wife, always ready to get my six chirped, “I’ve been to them before!” Thanks, sweetie, love you, too!

We were celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary by going to Becky’s Drive-in movies in Walnutport, Pa. I’ve ridden past it many times on my motorcycle, but I’d never gone. I positioned the truck on the tiered lot dead-center of the screen. As we got out I had this very familiar feeling wash over me. "This is something we would do if we were on vacation! We’d find something fun and then do it,” I thought. Questions flashed on the screen of my mind. “So why is this so foreign to us?” “Why does this elude us week after week?” “Why do we have to spend hundreds of dollars to gain the feeling I have right now?”

As we head into the final month of Summer, before the nasty back-to-school sales kick in, I want to share something with you that may just change your approach to life. It sounds a little “zen” and guru-sitting-on-a-hill-ish but bear with me for just a few moments. This won’t take long.

Vacation isn't a location, it's a state of mind.

Vacation isn't a location, it's a state of mind. What makes a vacation any different than what we were doing at Becky’s? Not location but mindset! We work so hard to get away from it all and that is certainly needed. But our problem isn’t our location, it’s where we choose to place our minds. We fail to unplug from social media, work concerns, personal strife and common worries. I’m not saying that any of these are invalid, but changing your geographic location isn’t always necessary or effective. And when it’s impossible to get away, must we remain trapped? No, no we do not.

An image captured on one of my trips to Maine. Vacations can be wonderful retreats away from the ordinary, but they're not the answer to a peaceful life rhythm.

If you think about it, someone from Nebraska vacationing in Pennsylvania may find the lure of Becky’s just the thing to top off their trip. Interesting concept isn’t it! Do people in Rome, Italy, get tired of seeing the Colosseum? What really constitutes a “vacation”, anyway?

Dogs. Kids. Blankets. Lovers. Families. Ice cream sandwiches. Crispy, soft French fries.

Becky’s was a buzz with laughter and play. It was a bubble in time, an oasis in the midst of earthly difficulties. Families nestled in beds of pickup trucks under blankets. Four teenagers ate melting ice cream at a wooden table. My wife said it looked like a stereotypical Norman Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post scene from the 1940s. There was something beautifully restful in all of this. It was corporeal and only thirty minutes from home!

Why does it take so many people two, three or four days to unwind and decompress when they’re on vacation?

Why does it take so many people two, three or four days to unwind and decompress when they’re on vacation? Why are so many not rested afterward? How many times have we said, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” Because the pattern that we live so binds us that unwinding is difficult. Because that pattern is often hard to escape during our respite, it comes with us. And we know deep down inside that when we come back we return to the same unhealthy pattern. It’s certainly waiting for us, lurking behind the locked door of our home. The turn of the key looses the beast!. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We were designed to live a different pattern, one that incorporates work and rest together, as tightly knit partners. It was intended that rest and play be part of our weekly regimen. But they’ve been kidnapped, taken away and held for ransom. And we have to pay dearly, usually a hotel and bar tab, to get them back.

So here’s my suggestion - I’m keeping this short because I leave on vacation tomorrow! Create a new rhythm! A rhythm that honors both God and you. One that incorporates six days of work and one of rest. And when I say “rest”, I most certainly do mean 24-hours of ceasing all work to delight in God, creation and life. Anyone that tells you otherwise denies God’s intent and blueprint for Sabbath. I pray that as you establish this weekly Sabbath rhythm, you’ll find rest for your souls because Jesus is in Sabbath!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  - Philippians 4:8

You can read more about Sabbath and how to practice it in my other blogs. God bless and have a wonderful Summer.

 Having a little fun at the drive in! Thanks to my wife, who is just as playful as I am, for taking the photo!

Having a little fun at the drive in! Thanks to my wife, who is just as playful as I am, for taking the photo!