Spring break 2013 sounds very different than spring break 1989. In my mind they are endless in their contradictions.
In 1989, Spring Break meant anything but taking a break. It was about being young, being in the sun of Southern California, friends, and road trips to Rosarito Beach in Baja. There was no break like I see a break now. In fact, it was all about staying up all night, living on two hours of sleep every night for a week, wearing nothing but a pair of board shorts and flip flops while sleeping in a car.
My days consisted of surfing, sunburns, suntan lotion that smells so good you contemplate eating it, the smell salt water, the feel of sand in your toes, and fast food until I felt sick. Spring break in 1989 was about doing everything without limiting my selfishness.
Spring Break 2013, is so much different now that I am 42. It means sleeping in just a little (7:30, if I’m being selfish). Going outside to experience 65-degree weather. Thinking about a garden. Thinking about fertilizing my lawn to get a jump on the dandelions. Playing catch in the yard with my kids. Watching basketball with my son. Going on walks with my wife. Watching my daughter go on her first road trip with her friends. Watching my other daughter clean out her room of all her “little girl” toys to make way for teen life. Growing a beard and buying some Just for Men to color my beard. Reading, writing, drinking coffee, eating healthy, exercising, running, and finding beauty in the simplest things.
At 18 I was known for being a little eccentric, which is a poetic word for being crazy. I had a strong appetite for adventure, risk and exploration. I was willing to try anything at least once, unless I thought it would kill me, but I was 17, and everyone knows 17 year olds don’t die, they live.
Every day was an open book to see something new and move on the next big thing. You could say I was like a dog sitting before a bowl of steak, one gulp and it was down the hatch.
I think my motto was “consume everything and taste nothing.”
I looked at people who were over 40 and thought, “Why bother even trying to get out of bed? Heaven is so close for you.” They seemed to quit taking risks.
Everything for people over 40 was calculated and measured, as if everything they accumulated was in danger of being taken.
Today, as I reflect on being a 42 year old who is trying hard to experience and enjoy spring break, I am realizing that the difference between spring break as a 42 year old and spring break as an 18 year old is less about age and more about accumulation.
Page 2 of 3 - When you don’t have anything, it’s easy to risk everything.
At 17 I didn’t have a wife, kids, a job, an education, bills or any major responsibilities. I just kind of existed.
It was easy to feel as if I was risking everything, because I wasn’t really risking anything, even though it still felt like I was risking everything. I was living on the edge. Now living on the edge is pushing the speed limit by two miles per hour and not getting caught, or going on a trail run. Oh how age changes your perspectives.
The longer you live your life, things begin to attach to you. You accumulate things in life. Not necessarily things, but purpose. Purpose that is manifest through people. As we get older we accumulate relationships.
You get married, you now have a spouse.
You have a spouse, you then are likely to have children.
Once you have children, you have endless responsibility.
You have a career, you have co-workers.
You have kids activities, and now you share those activities with parents. You find a community of faith, and you have brothers and sisters in Christ. Life becomes less about you and more about who.
Jesus’ brother James knew about accumulation. God willed His greatest possession, Jesus, to be his brother.
 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-17 ESV)
God has willed His prized creation of people to you and I. It is there we can explore God’s kingdom at work within us. When your purpose becomes God Himself, he will make His greatest priority your greatest priority.
Spring Break is about taking a break from all that keeps you from exploring those relationships at their deepest levels. Start with Him. Spend time in prayer, scripture, and solitude. When He fills your spiritual tank, spend it on others. Go on a walk with your wife or husband. Throw the ball in the yard with your kids. Play a board game or two (that’s painful for me, but I plan on doing it this week). Watch a basketball game with your son, or daughter. Take pictures. Record life with a pen and paper. Have extended times of devotions with your children. Have some friends over for a meal. Have some people over for a meal that aren’t your friends and make them your friends.
Page 3 of 3 - Plant some seeds in the garden of your relationships.
Invest in the people God has in your life and watch the weeds of lonliness and isolation fail to come up. Watch life become life. Watch spring, break you free from the monotony of selfish living so you can truly explore life from God’s perspective.
Take a break from everything that keeps you from seeing life through others. Find joy in the community God has given you. Stop pressing to accumulate things that don’t have sustainable life. Start pressing to accumulate life in the lives of others.
Take a risk and live.
I love being your pastor!