A guest post by Kyle Sanders

As a kid, summer was the most delightful time of year.  I was free from school and free to rest from responsibility. I looked forward to those breaks. I couldn’t hurry the last nine weeks quick enough.  High school held the same delight, but deeper.  With the freedom came a chance to work more hours so I had more money to do things with my friends (because doing things required money, and we weren’t very creative).

Then I entered seminary.

That sounds like such a rueful statement.  In fact, at certain times (especially summer) it has been rueful.  The freedom for rest I so looked forward to was then taken up with “formation activities” like spending a summer in a parish, doing Spanish immersion, or working hospital chaplaincy.  I was no longer free for the whole summer.  When I did experience vacation I went full tilt doing nothing.  It was my time to waste, so I wasted it, because that was what was restful.

This summer I have come to realize the horrible lie I bought into with such thinking as vacation, especially summer vacation, as rest from responsibility.  Most who read this blog already know summer does not provide rest from responsibility: if anything children home from school ups the ante.

In vacation, we leave, we get away from the responsibility of working life, in order to rest.  The work-a-day world is so burdensome that weekends don’t always provide enough time to rest, or we misuse that time of rest by spending eight hours a weekend day in front of the TV {I’ve been guilty}).

What we forget, because we are so caught up in working, producing, providing damage control, parenting, and pastoring, is that we have been offered rest, a true form of rest.  “Come to me all who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28).  Then comes the punch line: in Jesus we can be on a perpetual summer vacation.

In Jesus, we can rest, always.

We can find greater rest and greater rejuvenation in spending time with Christ twenty minutes a day than spending a whole month on the beaches of Oahu.  For spouses, some of their most restful moments are spent in quiet with each other, no words per se, but just in each other’s loving presence.  How much greater so when we spend time in the loving embrace of the Father!

From this place of rest, responsibility moves from being burdensome to being a source of joy and a means for deeper prayer with God. This in turn allows for deeper intimacy and with deeper intimacy a more complete rest at the bosom of Jesus.

Summer vacation is now just a piece of nostalgia of simpler times.  The complexity of year-round responsibility is now part of my life.  Vacation, though, is still sweet. It now proves more restful because instead of fleeing responsibility, I bring it all into the heart of Jesus, where I find my rest.

Kyle Sanders is a transitional deacon studying for the priesthood. He can be found on Twitter as @Colonel4God and at  Reverenced Reading.