I love holidays, though these days I’ve abandoned touring and a ‘where the road takes us’ approach, and prefer to be pampered a bit.
But I’ve noticed two things about my reaction to holidays: no matter how much I’ve enjoyed myself, there’s always a vague feeling of disappointment, and as soon as I go back to work I feel as though I haven’t had a holiday at all.
I seem to remember that it was the same with Christmas when I was a child: lots of anticipation and excitement before the event, and certainly lots of presents, but still, in some way, there was always a slight element of disappointment. Something was always missing.
I suppose we spend most of our lives in a state of mild dissatisfaction because we feel something is missing, and major things like celebrations and holidays just make us a bit more aware of it.
Saint Ignatius Loyola described it in the words ‘I seek I know not what’, and I think that puts it well, because we’re not sure what’s missing, but we know that something important is.
What we’re seeking, according to Ignatius, is a deeper relationship with God.
God created us, and he created us to be in real and loving relationship with him.
That relationship is the one which, ultimately, gives us complete fulfilment and satisfaction.
Of course, developing our relationship with God takes time and effort, much like any other loving relationship, and it’s made more difficult by the fact that we can’t see or hear him in the way we can see and hear the friends and family members we have most of our important relationships with. But we can do it, and most of us do it by prayer.
When I say prayer, I don’t just mean repeating ‘standard’ prayers, though many people find the words others have written very helpful in their prayer lives, and I don’t mean giving God his ‘to do’ list in sorting out our problems, though I’m sure God wants us to share all our concerns and worries with him. I mean spending time with God, sometimes talking to him, sometimes just enjoying ‘being’ with him, and always listening for what he is saying to us.
And God is speaking, speaking to each one of us, and his words are words of love.