COLUMNS

Getting away

Stephanie Ziebarth

Something about getting away from the routine of life does a body good–not to mention mind and spirit.

That's actually what my family does: we're in camping ministry (www.joyelcamps.org). We know how valuable it is to get away from your regular routine, off to a new place–a place that does not have the distractions of electronics, phone calls, or chores that demand attention.

In a place like that, you can hear from God more clearly. You can renew your spirit more effectively. You can think or pray through the things on your mind and heart. You can connect better with your loved ones.

But you don't need to sign up for a retreat at camp in order to get away (though that is a good way of doing it). You can just get in your car and drive away to a quieter place. Or you may lace up your sneakers and walk away from your house and find a place that suits your needs.

Today my youngest child has a class at Cowans Gap State Park (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/cowansgap/). While she's learning about raptors, I took a walk around the lake and am now settled in by the shore.

It's a chilly week day today, so Cowans Gap is not very crowded. So far I've run into two couples and one family with young children. The most recent couple commented with wide smiles as they walked by my little writing spot, “That looks like a very stressful office!”

“Very stressful!” I responded with my own smile, because, of course, it's not. At this very moment I can see 19 birds soaring over the lake. I see the wind rippling the water. I hear the breeze rustling the leaves. The sun is out, the clouds are moving quickly, and life seems good. I breathe deeply and relax my shoulders.

See: getting away does a body good.

In 30 minutes, I'll return to my daughter's class and accompany them to the top of Tuscarora Mountain, where we'll pay closer attention to these soaring birds. We'll make memories and learn. Then we'll enjoy a picnic. Following lunch, we'll head back to regular life in Greencastle. My other children will return home from school, we'll prepare the house and meal for the guest arriving for dinner, and then I'll catch up on some work.

My daughter's and my little getaway will consume about five hours of our day, but our whole day–and week–will be better because of it.

I know we can't do this every week, but it's worth doing once a month or so.

A healthier, mind, soul and spirit make for a healthier life. So find your getaway and get away.

To read my husband's take on a similar topic, visit here: http://www.joyelcamps.org/pennsylvania_christian_retreat_center/has-your-faith-ever-failed-you.