Are a Vacation’s Lows Determined by the Wonder of its Highlights?

Do you live in your dream location? Many people do. I used to live in Hawaii, which was amazing. While there, a neighbor shared a challenge with me, which had been presented to her. Whenever she had a complaint, she was to end it with “in Hawaii”. I tried to make a habit of it too. “I have a flat tire… in Hawaii.” It really did infuse gratitude where I might otherwise have been prone to grumble.

Flat tire in Hawaii: Aren't Vacation Lows Determined by the Wonder of its Highlights?
photo by Olga Subach on Unsplash

Thinking along these lines, I wonder, are a vacation’s lows determined by the wonder of its highlights? If I add “on vacation” to a low point, does it remove the sting a bit? I pondered that question as I thought over my recent trip.

If you follow this blog, you have read about the highlights my husband and I experienced in Phoenix East, Valley, and Northern Arizona. In a previous article about vacation decisions, I also promised to share our lowlights. There weren’t too many, in fact, I’d call them “lessons learned”, for the most part. But, in comparison to the heights of the highs, there were some lower points to mention.

1. We didn’t accurately plan our breaks.

We drove approximately 12 hours each way. But we did not plan our stops at the half-way point. We reserved hotel rooms 4 hours from our home. That meant our 12-hour drive was broken into 4 hours one day and 8 hours the other.

Next time we make this trip, we will stop in the middle and drive 6 hours each day. We are seriously considering a move to Arizona and our adult kids will be staying where we currently live, so we may be driving this route frequently in the future. We are thankful to have learned this lesson now.

2. I got sick.

Well, not sick exactly, but I was under-the-weather the first day we spent in Phoenix. I was lethargic and my brain was a sort of mush. Has that happened to you?

My friend, in whose home we were staying, suggested that maybe something inside of me was just waiting to get on vacation so I could shut down and relax. She encouraged me to nap and take it easy and I did. The next day, and every day thereafter, I was fine. I have determined not to wait as long before I take another vacation. I was at the end of every strand of my extremely frayed rope, so to speak.

Cat resting in fluffy bed: Aren't Vacation Lows Determined by the Wonder of its Highlights?
Photo by Aleksandar Cvetanovic on Unsplash

3. We chose poor entertainment for the ride.

We tried! We planned ahead and purchased 2 audio books. We listened to one on the way to Arizona and the other on our way home. We chose non-fiction, thinking we’d learn while we drove. Well, one of them was odd and the other put us at odds.

Next time, I think would rather listen to an adventure story or podcasts we could easily change for variety. I think either would help pass the time better and feel more like vacation. Do you have any good suggestions?

4. This one still stings. I lost my pillow.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I like to take my pillow when I travel because it comes in handy. It is great for napping in the car. It is nice when a hotel does not provide enough. My husband and I ‘prop’ and ‘support’ achy joints and use a lot of pillows. Tell me we’re not the only ones…?

But when I leave a hotel, and visually scan the room for anything left behind, my brain does not register a pillow on the bed as ‘out of place’ and I am prone to leave it. My pillow isn’t special enough to warrant a 4-hour drive back to the hotel for retrieval, but I do miss it. Maybe I need to buy highlighter yellow pillowcases for traveling, so I won’t accidentally leave my pillow behind again.

Open road: Aren't Vacation Lows Determined by the Wonder of its Highlights?
Open Road on Pixels

Let me say right here, that I’d endure every one these lowlights over again to repeat my vacation. The wonder of the highlights does determine the depths of the low points. The lows are raised significantly if I say, “We didn’t accurately plan our breaks… on vacation.”, or “I lost my pillow… on vacation.”

Stay with me here, because I want to take this a step further. If we are Christians, if we are “in Christ”, shouldn’t our lows be weighed in light of the wonder we are promised? Doesn’t it stand to reason that our trials can be endured more joyfully because of what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for us?

What ails you today? If you add the words “in Christ” after your problem, does its burden become lighter? For instance, mine is “I feel inadequate today… in Christ.” Hmm… suddenly my inadequacy is overwhelmed by He who is infinitely able! It is not just a vacation’s lows that are determined by the wonder of its highlights. This applies to all of life! Try it – what examples can you think of?

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:23

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”

Romans 8:1

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”

1 Corinthians 1:30

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us…”

2 Corinthians 1:21

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…”

Ephesians 1:13

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10

15 replies on “Are a Vacation’s Lows Determined by the Wonder of its Highlights?”

Have you ever forgotten your pillows? I have donated to several hotels, lol! And you’re right- we won’t need the comfort of a pillow in the grandeur of heaven. (And if Jesus thinks we should have them, He’ll provide. 😄

Liked by 1 person

Lovely post, thank you for sharing. I agree, our perspective is so important. Especially, as followers of Christ, we need to see ourselves, our circumstances, and our relationships from His view point. Truly, being in Christ makes a world of difference! God bless! Thank you for sharing. 💗

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I’m a pillow-taker, too! And I deliberately chose a green pillowcase last time so I wouldn’t forget it! Otherwise, it would have blended into the bed. 🙂 I love listening to audiobooks on trips, too, but it’s tough to find one that fits you AND your spouse. For fiction, try Rachel Hauck–her books are typically for women, but “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” might appeal to your hubby. Also, I recommend a great app, “Libby,” for checking out audiobooks from your local library. I’m going to say “IN CHRIST” at the end of every complaint today! Love this “gratitude weapon” against grumpiness!

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Thank you so much for the recommendations! I really appreciate your time and I will be looking into them for sure! Why didn’t I talk to you before I took my light-color-cased pillow? Haha! There is so much I need to learn…in Christ. ;). Soooo grateful that He has all the answers and all the correct perspective! 😀


LOVE it! When we first moved to Kentucky, Anita and I searched for other venues for her work as a college prof for several years, maybe a decade. (We Med Techs could drop our bags anywhere and have a job in a week or two.) But after a while (10-14 YEARS!), we finally accepted that we are most likely here for the rest of our lives on earth.
So now I’ll try to remind myself to end every complaint, “in Kentucky.”
Low crime rate, no earthquakes, extremely rare tornadoes, no tsunamis, no volcanoes, excellent health care, low cost of living, mostly conservative politically, philosophically and theologically.
And when I said we would hit “rush hour,” a Korean friend visiting from L.A., California, said, “Oh, C.A., you have such a ‘cute’ rush hour,” 😁
So don’t all y’all move here too fast! 😉

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Oh wow- that does sound like a little slice of Heaven. You, my friend get to add “in Christ, in Kentucky” to all of your complaints and that double nullifies your gripe. 😄😄. You get double joy faces for that! In all seriousness, I’m sure you still face trials, even “in Christ in Kentucky”, so it sure is good to know that nowhere on this earth is our final destination. I like how you put “the rest of our lives on earth”. You know that as good as it is, the best is yet to come!

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Hawaii now beautiful and exciting! And I too, take my pillow everywhere. It wouldn’t feel right not to. Oh that couldn’t have been pleased getting sick. But looks like you made the most out of a bad moment. Good for you. Thanks for such a great post. So enjoyed😊

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Hawaii or Harlem . . . Alaska or Albania . . . pillow or no pillow . . . Paul once said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil.4:11) . . . but Fred also still fuses over lost pillows 😊

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Good point, Fred! I can (and did) give up Hawaii, vacation can come to an end. But I never want to let go of “in Christ”! All of life and eternity is reliant upon that designation. Luckily, God is always there!
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:9-10


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