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Time Away

24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. That is a day. And the average person lives for approximately 29,200 days. So why do we feel so rushed to live life? Why do we feel like breaks are nonexistent?

The last few weeks of school were extremely stressful. And I’m sure that is a fact that pertains to more than just me.

I was overwhelmed with all I’d committed myself to: academics - essays, exams, and studying; athletics - preparing myself for weekly competitions and state, something I’d never experienced in swim before; extracurriculars - I had some big pieces I was learning in piano, and my volunteer job didn't let up. There was no end in sight.

Until, I went to volunteer work at Spring Canyon, an Officer’s Christian Fellowship conference center in the Colorado mountains. I was pulled away from my life - no phone even - and all I needed to do was work. Work for a month alongside 14 others who’d also signed away their month.

I know, I know - I was overwhelmed by “work,” and I went to work some more. But that month was so much more than work. Sure, maybe that was the reason I was there, but that’s not what I got out of my time away.

Coming from a place where my focus was split on so many different things, I now had only one thing to focus on: the task at hand. I didn’t need to worry about when that essay is due, what the test is about, what I’m eating, how I’ll have time to practice piano, when to schedule the next article. And while I love it all, I now just had to wash dishes. Maybe going fast did matter a tad, but all I needed to do was wash dishes.

And I didn't just take a break from activities. While at Spring Canyon, I took a break from people. I’m not saying I don’t love my friends, but a change in setting was refreshing. I lived with people who valued me, who wanted to know me, and who wanted to help me heal. You have to know a problem exists to fix it, and these people helped me realize how broken I was. While my brokenness might be minute when put next to others’, it was still there, still impacting me, still tugging at my soul. And the talks I had, the people I loved and who loved me back - they helped me heal.

I also took a break from technology. From social media. Guys, everything you allow to touch you impacts you. Reflecting on who I was before I left - I was very much impacted, and not in a good way. Everyone yearns to be loved, and I was trying to feel loved and appreciated through something that does not work. I’m struggling with putting these thoughts into words, but technology isn’t the real world. I’ll leave it at that.

I took a break from the emotions of school and home. My mind was ricocheting from tragedy, and seeing the anguish on faces I loved filled me with hopelessness and anxiety. And going home did not bring peace, as every moment was spent trying to catch up on my activities or helping my single-parenting mom (thank you, TDY). I needed a stable, calm foundation to lean on, one where my worries just melted away. Spring Canyon gave me that.

And finally, I was immersed in a world filled with God. For my fellow believers out in this world: if you pursue Christ, He will open up to you. He’s given us the choice, and as soon as you turn to Him, you’ll feel Him walking next to you.

My time away was a break I needed. Maybe you’re dealing with stress from life or anxiety for a deployed parent. Maybe emotional tension is starting to get the better of you or your mental health is going downhill. Maybe you feel lost, hopeless, overwhelmed, detached - any of the plethora of emotions. I urge you: TAKE A BREAK. It doesn’t need to be as drastic as my experience, but choose moments of your day to rest and self-reflect.

I am the kind of person to work myself to the breaking point. And those weeks at the end of the school year - I was dangerously close to approaching that. I didn’t realize how much I was beating myself down until I had time to sit back and think. Even the strongest people need a break sometimes.


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