My family and I love staying in vacation rentals. We can cook for ourselves, play games, watch television, go out in the yard. Those who wake up early can get up without waking those who want to sleep in. And sometimes there are extra bonuses like nearby playgrounds, pools, outdoor grills, or gorgeous backyards. We once stayed in a lovely cottage in San Diego. The yard was sumptuous with vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, and ornamental plants. The owner left us homemade jam and croissants on the counter. Windows opened up the view to the flowering outside.
It is easy to revel in abundance when abundance is spread before us to such perfection; much harder to practice when not everything is as we expect. In our vacation condo in Florida, tennis racquets and balls, a wide-screen TV, beach towels, two coffee machines, and an extremely well-stocked spice rack stood side to side with... no hand soap in the bathrooms. Other necessary supplies were missing or limited. The wifi didn’t work. The dishwasher exploded in suds when we turned it on. In the balcony corners, mice droppings made us un-eager to go outside. When Dar spoke to the owner about these problems, the response was disbelief and an unwillingness to help out.
While in Israel, my aunt told me this quote: “There is no such thing as problems. If you think there is a problem, then it has a solution and is no longer a problem. If there is no solution, then it is not a problem: it’s a fact.” Knowing how prone I am to ruminating about what is wrong, I forced myself to focus on what was wonderful and fun about the condo. Fact: I am not going to teach this condo’s owner abundance, but, fact: I can exercise abundance myself. And most importantly, I can do something about most of this.
In the morning, Dar drove to the grocery store and bought everything that we needed. 3G solved most of our WiFi needs and towels stacked before the dishwasher kept the floor dry. We made good use of the pool, the tennis court, and our kitchen. We enjoyed the good air streaming through the screens of the balcony doors and the movies, sports channels, and New Year program on the wide-screen TV. Without our attention, the cracks in the condo’s condition closed, and we could easily and simply have a great time.
It feels wonderful to focus like that. My attention, unhampered by mundane needs, can soar to the Florida wide skies, down to the colorful reefs of the deep blue ocean, and back up to the ever-shifting white clouds. I can blow with the wind in the palm fronds, swim with little skittering fish, and sit immovable in the mud like an old, lazy crocodile. But best of all is the freedom I found in the realization: who needs hand soap when the coast of Florida, from Key to Key, is open before us? Not we.