Vacations and Reality
I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy. You will see the first among friends and lovers reunited on the eve of a holiday. Among adults some pretext in the way of Jokes is usually provided, but the facility with which the smallest witticisms produce laughter at such a time shows that they are not the real cause. What that real cause is we do not know. Something like it is expressed in much of that detestable art which the humans call Music, and something like it occurs in Heaven—a meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience, quite opaque to us. Laughter of this kind does us no good and should always be discouraged. Besides, the phenomenon is of itself disgusting and a direct insult to the realism, dignity, and austerity of Hell.
Fun is closely related to Joy—a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct. It is very little use to us. It can sometimes be used, of course, to divert humans from something else which the Enemy would like them to be feeling or doing: but in itself it has wholly undesirable tendencies; it promotes charity, courage, contentment, and many other evils.
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
My family and I had a great time on our vacation. Gen Con was grand as it always is, and, as the picture at the top of the post indicates, I made a new friend! (I am the one who is not green.)
During vacations I attempt to studiously ignore the news, forget about the Law, and focus in on my family and fun. I find that a bit difficult to do, as I always take a great deal of interest in the noteworthy events of the day, and my legal practice tends to be fairly consuming of my time during non-vacation periods. Fortunately my family I also find fascinating, and after a day or two I am in full vacation mode and everything but my family fades into the distance for a time.
Alas, vacations always end. When I go back to my office on Monday, I know that I will have many messages to return, and a full schedule of appointments and court appearances to deal with. Back home with the internet, I will spend at least an hour each day getting up to speed with current events, and writing my blog posts, and my life proceeds in its familiar non-vacation manner.
It would be easy for me to think that the vacation was a temporary illusion and the way I normally spend my life the reality, but this is incorrect. God gives us this life as an entirety and it is not for us to divide it. Our different activities each year and each day are merely facets of the time on this planet we have as a free-will gift from our Creator. What we do with the time, good and bad, is up to us, but no portion is less our reality than any other portion. It is our task to enfuse everything we do with love of God and love of our neighbor.
And so, as I resume my daily activities, I will say this prayer written by Saint Thomas More, as it has always reminded me of how I should lead my life:
give me the grace so to spend my life,
that when the day of my death shall come,
though I may feel pain in my body,
I may feel comfort in soul;
and with faithful hope in thy mercy,
in due love towards thee
and charity towards the world,
I may, through thy grace,
part hence into thy glory.