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May Days are Gay Days!

Vacation wind is blowing and the air is heavy with the fragrance of holiday. With the exams behind you it’s time to rest, relax and recoup. Holiday is an oasis in the harsh and fiery deserts of modern existence.

Don’t let post-examination depression spoil your precious holidays. You can’t change the past. But you can ruin a beautiful present by worrying about the future. There are those who in the aftermath of a doubtful performance are worried stiff and start tracing their answer papers for “follow-up!” Never give in to such temptation for malpractices. Just praise God whenever worry takes over.

These days education has become too academic. Have an intake for your overall development - physical, mental, spiritual and social - during vacation. Perhaps you have to prepare for tests to enter a professional college or a competitive exam. In any case don’t get lost with books.

Get into some physical activity. Choose an outdoor game and play daily. find an open space, make your own court and start hitting the ball. When we were young we used to buy worn-out tennis balls and nets from a club at throw-away price. We would gather the neighbours for Vimto matches. The losers would buy Vimto (now Thums Up) to the winners. Oh, how we squealed with excitement! That created a friendly atmosphere and linked the entire neighbourhood. This is the best way to thrash out compartmentalised life and mingle with folks.

You may go with your daddy to help him in his work, be it farming, carpentry, printing, masonry, or whatever. Knowledge is never a waste.

Give vent to your desires so far repressed by pressure of studies. You can plan a bicycle trip to the next town with your friends or hill-climbing or swimming. Girls should not fall into a lacklustre routine. None of the above activities is exempt for you. Wear a salwar suit and off you go. Don’t stretch yourself on the cot all day long with a novel in hand like a satiated python. Neighbourhood teenagers can bring dinner out to the open and eat under the moonlight, swapping stories. Get involved in the household chores. Learning cooking is not an option for girls. It is a must. Take up at least one daily chore like sweeping or washing and relieve your mom. When holidays started we would jump and yell, “Welcome Holiday!” All hell would break loose. When school reopened and we left home with long faces our parents would beam with delight shouting, “Welcome School!” Got the point? Parents should not end up with delightful devils at home all day long. Neighbourhood girls can join and cook the old fashioned way with firewood in a picnic spot and have a gala meal. Gardening is an excellent pastime. Make your garden bloom. Even God had a garden (Gen 13:10; Isa 51:3).

God also took a break from His work. He created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh day (Gen 2:2,3). That shows how He respects vacationing. He insists that man should rest from his routine. He commanded rest even for the land, one year for every six years of cultivation (Lev 25:1-4). Jesus took His disciples away to rest and relax (Mk 6:31). So don’t feel guilty about fun and frolic.

Develop a hobby. It could be painting, stamp collection, flying kites, etc. Watch good TV programmes like The World this Week and The News. But don’t spend hours before the tube. It is neither good for the eyes nor for the mind. You may learn music also.

Dreaming is part of life. Dream about your future. Take long walks in a natural setting. Dream and observe as you walk. Jesus was a walker. He walked miles along the seashore, lakeside and hills. He was in touch with nature. So He talked naturally about birds, flowers, fish, animals, trees, rain and storm, sheep and shepherd or a reed swaying in the wind. He had observed new wine burst out of old wineskins. He had even observed mama kneading dough with leaven and the dough lifting up the lid! His general knowledge was mammoth.

Lie down under the starry summer sky and dream about God and heaven. That will knit you close with your Creator and stir up your love for Him. You should take time to be just doing nothing. Joseph was a dreamer and wov! His dreams came true. Paul needed a three year furlough to dream. He came back bubbling with new ideas and bursting with pressure-cooker energy!

During school or college you might have had to hurry through your daily scripture portion. Now you can read, meditate and write down in your Bible notebook. Spend a little extra time in prayer. Read one or two missionary biographies. Involve in church activities. If there is a Vacation Bible School, involve yourself. Join a Summer Missionary Team. It is a breathtaking experience. You travel, walk long distance, cook, bathe in a well or stream, sleep on the floor, kill snakes and scorpions, climb hills and preach the gospel. It is adventurous! One of our teams witnessed a heard of elephants while crossing a forest.

In all probability there is a wedding in your family or some other social gathering this vacation. Don’t shy away from such merrymaking. There is a time to be mischievous too! Write to old friends. Call on some relatives and friends. The world is becoming more and more impersonal. Develop warm relationships.

It is a good idea to visit a Blind Home, Orphanage or Old People’s Home. Touch them, hug them and show your love to them. It alters their chemistry. May be you can organise an entertainment for them. Visit a refugee colony and listen to their tales of woe. Observe poverty and social evils wherever you go. These experiences will change your life forever.

If opportunity presents, attend a musical concert or a cricket match. If there is a circus or exhibition, do not miss!

Our daddy used to force us to lie down and rest in the afternoon, so he could get a wink of rest. Once we heard him snore we would get down and crawl under the cot on all fours toward the exit, yearning to breathe free. We would climb on trees to collect crows’ eggs and the crows would come down on us with a whoosh and hit us. Daddy taught us to make a pin-hole at both  ends of an egg and blow out the contents. He made a glass case to arrange our egg collection. We would catch tadpoles and grow them in our backyard. We would start with the top of the sugarcane and chew down the six feet through. Mom would swim and bicycle with us and bathe in the rain. She treated us kids as little people, supremely valuable in this world. We always had a bag of tricks to irritate the next door nanny. Oh, how I long for those days as David longed for the waters of Bethlehem! Now I am a mom and am looking forward to our daughter’s homecoming to have a real good holiday.

Dear Moms and Dads, take time off your frenetic schedule to enjoy the holiday with your children. Don’t feel old. Though we show the grown-up part, inside we are still the laughing children, the shy teens, the dream filled youths. The trick is in growing up without growing old. The remnant of your childhood is inside you. Stroll along familiar paths where all your yesterdays are buried deep and narrate those old old stories to your children. That will not only beat your bad mood but also be a priceless time of catharsis and ventilation for the children.

Wish you a Happy Holiday!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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