peace in the desert
Yesterday evening I watched an NPR Independence Day special program. Thousands upon thousands of people were gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to celebrate the 4th of July. The music was splendid, the fireworks display was spectacular; however, the thing I enjoyed most about that program was the many candid shots of the crowd on that mall enjoying the day.
A little child dancing with her grandfather, a young couple sharing a kiss, teenage girls giggling and waving a flag, a man in a wheelchair beaming with delight surrounded by his family. It was a beautiful sight seeing so many people having so much fun together, and it all made me think about how important recreation is for us to be "re-created."
I recently read a very interesting article in the New York Times about "vacations" in America. The article claimed that many people today don't "really" take vacations any longer. While people take time off and go on vacations, many people continue working even in their time away.
The article featured a picture of people sitting around a pool at a vacation resort. Everyone (and I mean everyone) was talking into or pecking at a smart phone or working on a laptop - reading email, checking in at the office, negotiating deals, scheduling meetings. They were on vacation but hardly resting or re-creating. The pace of life today is hectic and chaotic. Even when they are on vacation, many people find it hard to take time off.
I think I enjoyed watching the NPR special yesterday so much because people really were having fun "together." The only cell phones I saw were those of people taking pictures of one another.
Watching those people yesterday on the National Mall, I thought to myself, "we human beings are meant to be in relationship with one another. Indeed, we are most human when we celebrate and foster harmonious relationships." Time together spent in recreation is essential to "re-creating" our humanity.
At this time of year, especially on this holiday weekend when many people will be taking time off, I think it's important to really "take time off." Put the smart phone on silence. Log off the laptop. Take time to be with the people we love. Be quiet, rest and pray.
Take time to re-create.
The Buddha taught:
Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow
come and go like the wind.
To be happy
rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.