The Western Wheel

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Clyde showed up on the panoramic porch saying, “wow, this is the life.  This is what we were created for. This is the life!”

By his smile and big eyes scanning the scenery and deep exhale as he sat in a chair to take it all in, I could tell he was speaking of the glory of vacation—the glory of vacating the ordinary world of menial activity, restless work, and the daily grind that blinds us from enjoying the beauty of creation.

Clyde’s on to something. On the one hand, he’s a realist, and recognizes that there is something perverse with the way humans live their lives; true humanness is hampered. But on the other hand, Clyde’s an idealist; he’s sure that the curse has been lifted through the wonder-working power of vacation.

This was his good news. The enemy has been crushed. The enigmatic affliction of labor has been resolved by a cabin on the lake with a view, some good food and good company. Most importantly, freedom from the ol’ 9 to 5.

The limits of his leisure prevents him from discovering the lie he’s believing. The fast-paced world he lives him compels him to run without rest 50 weeks out of the year. Weekends are an extension of the work week, so two weeks of vacating seems like the glorious hub that man was created for. He finds no life in his work, and the occasional vacation is lengthy enough to provide respite from the demands of the Western world, but too short for him to recognize the dissatisfaction of idleness. And round he goes.

Clyde doesn’t know it but the reason he hates work is because of what he thinks it promises him. He works not only to survive but because work gives him something in return, and that something gives the illusion of human satiation of the deepest kind. He works for his gain, he works to get, he works to win and to beat: so he can’t rest. The more he works, the more he believes that he is in control; he believes he deserves to reap the fruit of labor that he’s earned. He’s in pursuit of the grand prize of unending idleness, which in the end will only bring fatigue and despair because of its disconnection from his true human purpose.

He fails to realize that true rest is not idleness nor vacation.  True rest is found in collaborative work with the person that transcends all time and space—the Creator. True rest is life-giving creation, creative expression, not for man’s sake but for the sake of a flouring world.