Sometimes we all just need to take a little break, and I have to admit that I was more than ready for mine. My husband and I had planned a trip to Florida for early May before we knew that he would be having major surgery this past Spring. For a little while we both believed that the trip would have to be cancelled, so you can imagine our relief when the surgeon gave his permission to go, pointing out that my husband could recover at a beachfront condo just as well as he could at home.
But when my husband’s hospital stay extended a week longer than it should have, we still thought that our much-anticipated vacation wasn’t going to happen. I told myself that it didn’t matter, and that as soon as my husband was better we’d go on a trip somewhere fun, but deep down I was very disappointed. It’s been a very tough year for my family, and I really wanted to spend a week relaxing at on my beloved Sanibel Island. I actually felt foolish for looking forward to this trip so much, because the past few months had me almost conditioned to be afraid to look forward to much of anything at all.
I know adversity can make us stronger and more focused on what’s important in our lives, and that’s a very good thing. But sometimes, it can also train us to believe that not only is “the glass half empty,” but that it’s bone dry and will remain that way forever. When disappointments and bad news come at us too quickly, or when difficult circumstances last for too long, it can become very hard to hang on to our optimistic attitudes and to allow ourselves to really believe that things will ever improve. Or at least that’s been my experience.
But you know what? Despite the need for a major surgery we thought he had avoided, and despite the complications that kept my husband in the hospital much longer than we had anticipated, we were able to go on our trip. My daughter and her family joined us, and we had a wonderful family time just hanging out together, walking the beach, swimming, and (in my husband’s case) taking LOTS of much-needed naps.
I can honestly say that my husband made great strides in his recovery during our trip, which was a real blessing. But he wasn’t the only one who benefited from our week away from it all. With each passing day, I felt my spirits lifting just a little bit more. My heart began to feel lighter, and I felt calmer and more at peace than I had in a long, long time. The experience was healing for both of us, just in different ways.
I know that I was very lucky to be able to go on vacation recently, and that many people are still living under restrictions that don’t allow any travel at all. But my point is that all of us, no matter what our circumstances, would benefit from finding a way to take a break from our problems and spending even a little time doing whatever we can to recharge our bodies and refresh our souls. Keeping hope alive and finding those moments of happiness isn’t always easy, but it is always worth the effort.