Sunday, July 29, 2018

Give me a break!

With all the fine weather we've been having, it's difficult not to think of holidays. Of course, people's ideas of what constitutes a holiday may differ. I remember once some years ago standing in a queue in a credit-union in Cork City. It happened to be the day after the tragic crash of one of the last flights of the Concorde. The line was long and moving slowly and the two elderly ladies in front of me struck up a conversation. Standing behind them as I was it was, naturally, impossible for me not to overhear what they were saying.

'Ah, that plane crash yesterday was terrible, girl' said the first.
'Oh, it was,' said the second.
'All those poor people, going off on their holidays.'
'Shocking awful, girl.'
'Still, they had to be going off, gallivanting around the world on their foreign holidays. Back in my day, we happy enough to get on the bus on go down to Crosshaven for the day. And bring our sandwiches with us. No airplanes for us, flying here there and everywhere, and we were happy out, like.'
'Oh, we were indeed, girl.'

Now, while there is nothing wrong with spending the day in Crosshaven – I have spent many a happy afternoon there, a truly charming place, particularly in the summer when the weather is fine, there is a gentle sea breeze, and the merries are open for the children to enjoy a ride on the carousel or the bumper-cars - I can't help but think that the two ladies were being a little hard on the doomed holiday makers. For a holiday is a holiday, whether it is a day by the seaside or a fortnight abroad, and the difference between the two is only a matter of degree; and, of course, not only is air transport very safe, but a bus may crash perhaps even more easily than a plane.

And the truth is we need a break now and again. Indeed, from a Christian perspective it is actually part of God's plan that we should. Those who were in Church a few Sundays ago may remember that in the Gospel reading Jesus says to his apostles to ‘”Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” His men have been out there working hard and he can see that they need a rest – so he makes sure that they get one.

So there's nothing wrong with taking a holiday. Not even a foreign one. Indeed, given what the Irish climate is usually like – rain, rain, and more rain - often a foreign holiday is the only way to go. Of course, those holidaying at home this year don't have to worry about that. For once we have a shortage of rain. But at least we can get a suntan without leaving the country!

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