We were traveling to grandparents in Florida for vacation when our son was about ten years old. He and his dad began a conversation about why his dad was a seminary professor and pastor. His dad began to explain that he was doing what he was supposed to be doing. He added how important it is to give of ourselves to others and the world. His dad said that his work was more than a job. It was something he just loved to do. Then, utilizing his incredible gift of teaching with story and real life, he talked for several miles about call and vocation.
Our son was quiet for a long-time. Finally he said, “Oh, I get it. A vacation is something you take like we are doing. A vocation is something that takes you.”
My husband and I both have used this story many times in care for pastors and their understanding of vocation. Vocations take each of us into the place of passion and purpose.
Inherent in our vocations is the need to take vacations! Sometimes, we can forget that a healthy vocation cannot survive without taking time for a vacation.
Letting go of our work to take a vacation can be a challenge. It can be hard to truly believe that the ministry, or any other vocation, is safe in someone else’s hands.
Taking a vacation also means letting go of our vocation for a time of rest and refreshment, play and exploration, and connecting with ourselves, family and friends.
The challenge to all of us is to risk letting go to enter into the place of trust in others and full trust in the Spirit to provide what is needed. Vocations and vacations are both sacred.
I’m going to take my vacation in the next few weeks. I hope you can do the same.
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson