Staycations. That became a deal in 2008/09 I think. The last time the economy took the kind of hit that changed our way of being . . . ah, the good old days? You know, back when it was a one-issue emergency. Chosen staycations were not the same as shelter at home out of fear, but more out of choice. We didn’t not travel because of fears of death or causing someone else’s but because we chose not to spend dwindling dollars on gas or plane tickets.

How is it that when staycations are a choice we freely make because our finances lead us that direction they seem vastly different than when they feel more forced because of health risks? It’s the same debate as masks I think. My mom wore masks when we were harvesting wheat because of allergies to wheat dust, and I don’t think any of the other farmers yelled at her for being a sheep whose next step was getting on a train to a gas chamber. Reeeeallly? Not only is that cartoon created, but then published in a newspaper? Is that really who we are Kansas? My mom wore a mask to be ABLE to breathe at night. Of course it was about protecting herself, not someone else, so it was probably an easier decision because mom’s are neeeever about sacrificing for others. *tongue planted firmly in my cheek, fyi.

I staycated last week. True confessions? I’m really pretty bad at it. So I went ahead and came to work the first three days. No sympathy or tsk-tsking. Time away from work is good for all of us, me included. And, being in my office at Grace also settles me. I may have some sort of pathology, if so, blame it on my parents, that’s what I try and do with all my weaknesses, isn’t it simply easier than taking responsibility? snort Having said all that, I did stay away from work Thurs-Sun! And as much as I love preaching and the creative process – well, it’s sort of a love/hate relationship – it was a needed brain-break and Pastor Cheryl was FABULOUS! And I’m not simply saying that so she’ll do it another time, maybe. While I was brain-breaking I ran, found out kayaking is a thing, and HAMILTON! To say I was mesmerized, glued to, riding the roller coaster, astounded, and awe-struck is still understating. Yes, Covid 2019 and masks and increasing infections, but Hamilton on the screen for those of us who did not see it in person! I even had a friend counting down for me during the intermission so I would be sure and be back on the couch in time. Even when I knew I could rewind or whatever you kids call it nowadays with the smart tv things.

AND . . . then we discovered that Disney+ includes National Geographic tv, and we watched a documentary of Eliud Kipchoge attempt to break the 2 hour mark for running a marathon in 2017 – he finished 25 seconds over 2 hours – what’s THAT all about? C’mon, you just have to run 4 min. 34 sec. miles for 26.2 miles! A number of medical professionals did not believe a human being could do that and not die, btw. While he didn’t make the mark in 2017, he did in 2019! He is a particularly centered human, and while extremely wealthy, chooses to give most of it away and lives quite simply as he grew up with his wife and family in Ketonga. Then came a documentary about Alex Honnald, the first person to free-solo El Capitan in Yosemite. It’s considered the most dangerous climb ever made free-solo and even his financial sponsor opted out saying in a published statement they believed the boundaries of safety and skill were being disregarded. So, you know, after Hamilton and Eliud Kipchoge and Alex Honnald free-soloing without dying, I decided floating around on a kayak without purpose in a body of water not particularly populated and with NO motorized watercraft was what was needed. It was not an aerobic workout by any imagination, but not tipping the boat over getting in and out I considered quite skillful – I didn’t say graceful – but at least my water-wings weren’t necessary as flotation devices. I grew up swimming in lakes but somehow as I’ve aged, swimming in places where I cannot see beneath the surface and something brushes my legs has become less desirable.

So the kayak is the next best thing. Plus, palindrome! Right??? My favorite palindromic phrase? “Do geese see God?” I didn’t come up with that one, but I love it. And randomly, I think they do.

Maybe that’s what staycations do. Maybe they bring the flights of fancy back. Maybe they wander you from work to exercise and rest, to entertainment and float boating, and freeing the brain to meander into places for a few moments that have less to do with politics and polarization and case numbers and human faces and front-line workers and ventilators and survival of the fittest or generous compassion and more to do with well, grace, at least a minute or two, of grace.

Does literally anyone who has taken a dip into a lake or pond know the feeling of the dog in the video??? Right?

The opening song of “Hamilton” done below comes from “Some Good News” – a show hosted by John Krasinski that popped up during the height of the shelter at home time and often highlighted “regular” people getting to see/experience thru social media platform, their dreams come to life. The look on this little girl’s face is as much a gift as the cast singing the song for her! I hope the same for you!