Taking Off My Shoes

“Nor can foot feel, being shod” This line from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur” is a commentary on what the poet saw as one of many pitfalls of the burgeoning industrial revolution, which, in his imagination, divorced people from knowledge of the natural world in which they lived. People are “shod”—shoe-wearing, meaning that they can no longer feel the earth beneath their feet. For decades I’ve held this line as a metaphor—until now, when, […]

Three Ideas for Prayer on Vacation

When you’re trying to do vacation, trying to relax and let go of the usual schedules and obligations, it’s tempting to let go of prayer and other spiritual practices. After all, if you practice any form of prayer regularly, it’s probably tied to your schedule—that 15 minutes between the time you get the kids to school and you have to head for work, or the time just before bed or right after lunch. When your […]

Vacation Desolation

I recently returned from a wonderful family vacation. It was a great time. The natural beauty of the area we visited was breathtaking, and as I was taking it in, I frequently thanked God for the beauty of creation. Despite this wonderful trip, though, I came back feeling somewhat empty. I felt like I was missing something. The vacation was great. My family was great. Yet something big was missing, and I just couldn’t “put […]

Seven Kinds of Vacation: Which Suits You Best?

Say “vacation” to seven different people, and you will trigger seven different ideas of what a vacation is. When summer arrives and the kids are out of school—or, when summer arrives and folks in the second half of life feel motivated to emerge from winter cocoons—it would help if, first of all, we define what kind of “vacation” we need, want, or see as possible. Here are a few categories to consider. 1. Sightseeing You […]