Why I Love/Hate Vacations

September 2, 2010 — 3 Comments

I have to apologize for not writing so regularly during the month of August. Authors claim that in order to be a good writer one must make writing a daily discipline, no matter what. If that’s the case, then I have quite a way to go!

My excuse is that I was on vacation for the first two weeks of August and since then I have been scrambling to feel caught up as the school year has already begun, and life has been rapidly picking up in pace. All things considered, I’m still very glad I went on the vacation.

My two older brothers and their wives came to visit us in Fort Dodge. The very next morning (I think it was really the afternoon) we all piled in our 1992 Suburban and started driving north. There were six of us, three brothers and our three wives, and we had just embarked upon a 4300-mile journey together for 9 days.

Some might consider this to be madness, but we absolutely loved it! The Hill family has always loved road trips. I had been to all 50 states by the time I was 12 and this trip completed my 2nd time to all of them. My brothers and I have another goal to go to all of the Canadian provinces. We only have Nunavut and Newfoundland left. However, seeing as there are no roads straight up to Nunavut and Newfoundland can only be reached by a ferry, I’m not quite sure when we’ll complete our goal.

So we went almost straight north into Winnipeg, Manitoba, to cross that province off our list. Then we headed just about straight West to as far as the eastern border of British Columbia, near Mount Robson, the highest mountain in Canada. My brothers and I have seen western Canada a few times so we were quite excited to show some of the most beautiful places in North America to our wives.

We were most excited to show Mount Robson, Jasper and Banff National Parks, Lake Louise, and Athabasca glacier to the ladies. I first saw these places when I was 6 years old and I have remembered their beauty for the last 20 years. It is very difficult to forget walking on a glacier that is deeper than the height of the Eifel Tower, peering down into blue glacial crevices that remind me of the fictional ice planet, Hoth. Heading south, the highway winds through valley after valley of craggy, snow-capped mountains containing glaciers draining into pristine lakes by way of giant waterfalls. At the southern end of the highway, Lake Louise has such turquoise water that it looks Photoshopped, but the cold wind blowing from the mountain glaciers behind the lake remind you that it’s real.

After weeks of listening to descriptions like the one I just gave, our wives finally got t

o see these places. The weather had been perfect for the whole trip as we drove through the desolate, flat Canadian plains. Of course, the morning we drove into the national parks we were surrounded by a smoky haze. There

had been a forest fire recently and the humid August air combined to really diminish the visibility. We knew that what we were looking at was beautiful, but we couldn’t really see it for ourselves!

We continued onward in our quest for epic scenery and the visibility did get better as we went. As if God were making up for the bad weather, we got to see a bald eagle, some caribou, a few black bears, mountain goats, and some doll sheep along the way. And even though the visibility wasn’t postcard quality, we still saw a lot of pretty stuff.

 

The visibility did get better - not perfect, but still good.

 

In addition to the national parks in Alberta, we went to the West Edmonton Mall, the largest in the world, and Dave and I went on the Mindbender, a roller coaster inside the mall. It put the Mall of America coasters to shame. I have wanted to go on it for 20 years, since the last time I was there. We also got to see Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks in the US (Yellowstone is crowded and overrated. Don’t go there!) and Mt. Rushmore.

All in all, we had an incredible trip. But like all good things, it eventually came to an end. And this is why I hate vacations. No matter how good they may be, no matter how long they may be, and trust me, I’ve had some pretty long ones in my day, they always, always come to an end. I hate that!

Nothing good lasts forever.

I don’t mean to sound depressing here, but nothing good lasts forever if you sit down and consider it. Vacations end. New cars get old. Grass withers and dies. Carpet gets stained. Couches get scratched. TV’s get replaced. Books get read. Video games get beaten. Clothes get torn. Shoes get worn. Glaciers melt. Pets get sick and die. Friends grow apart. Young love fades away. Family members get sick. Children grow up. Spouses get old.

No matter what, even in the best of situations, all good things come to an end. Romans 8 says that all of creation is in frustration, eagerly awaiting the day where God’s glory is revealed.

I am sometimes amazed by how much we need a savior. The very state of the universe points to our need for something more. Everything around us is slowly dying and no matter what we do, we are powerless to stop it. We can delay it, we can avoid it, we can ignore it, but we can’t prevent it.

All good things come to an end.

I am humbled by this thought. Yet at the same time, this sobering reality brings a great opportunity to marvel at the power and love of God.

In my last blog post I described some of my frustrations with the book of Job. Now I would like to point out what I love about the book. Chapters 38-41 describe God’s power over all creation. How crazy is that? We can’t even control when our own hearts give out, while God can “bind the chains of the Pleiades” and “loose the cords of Orion.”

Who are we that God would know us, let alone love us, or send his son to die for us? God’s love for us is so powerful that some day the very created order will be different. When Jesus comes back we will be given new bodies to live with him on a new earth, one without sickness, disease, and death. It will be a place where vacations are not bittersweet.

A place where good things last forever.

Do you know the God who loves you this much?

Austin

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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Dave

    I know, it’s crazy how fast that trip went by! It felt kinda like a blur! I just finished watching the three Lord of the Rings movies over the past three days by myself with the beasts. (Demaree is in NYC). I hadn’t really seen them since the theater. I was pretty bummed when the third one ended. I wanted the story of Frodo to keep going. Pretty much how i want the lives of all our friends and family to keep going. Its sad to think about how everything on this earth ends. We definitely need an everlasting savior!

  • don’t recall if you were with us, but I visited many of those places with your brothers… definitely some of the most beautiful spots in the world. we were just thinking about going to yellowstone… you may have just changed our minds.

    by the way, glaciers probably would last forever, or close to it, if we didn’t help them along.

  • Cornish Meemo

    I am so happy that the six of you were able to carry on the tradition of Hill road trips together. You were able to see some awesome scenery even though the fires blanketed some of it in a smokey haze. Seeing a bald eagle and the other woodland creatures was truly a gift!

    The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. We read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” This verse helps us to know that God has a plan and that it’s a good plan. We don’t always understand the plan God has laid out for us, but we need to trust Him that He is using change in our lives to help shape us more into the image of His Son. Sometimes change hurts. Sometimes it nearly kills us. But God has not left us alone in a changing world. He is our Rock…our hope…the god of our past and every moment of our future. Praise be to Him!