If you know me, are a Facebook friend or follow me on Twitter, then you know that I’m on vacation this week.  I’m blessed enough to be in a relationship with Miz Diana and, not to sound mercenary, one of the benefits of said relationship is the fact that her parents own a home in Holiday, Florida and let us use it from time to time.  It’s beautiful home situated on a waterfront lot that looks out onto Rocky Creek, a small estuary that empties into Anclote Anchorage in the Gulf of Mexico.  The picture you see above is one I took from the porch this morning while I drank my coffee.  If you’re still wondering how this is a benefit, maybe you should take another look at the picture. 

I’m blessed in a lot of ways and this morning is a rather forceful reminder of that.  Yesterday, while friends, family and loved ones rode out tornadoes and very severe thunderstorms, I was down here, enjoying sunshine and temps in the 80’s.  While people back home were sitting around without power, I was relaxing with all the comforts electricity provides.  While people back home were coming outside to trees down, roofs torn off and all sorts of damage, I was snug and secure with no worries whatsoever.  Well, I did have a few moments wondering if my own house was intact, but a phone call to friends in Knightdale assured me that worst of the storm missed our community.  All in all, due to the largesse of Diana’s parents, yesterday’s weather affected us not at all.  Physically, anyway.

In the weeks leading up to this trip, Diana and I have been talking about how much we’ve been looking forward to it; even how much we need it.  I truly love what I do for a living, being a firefighter brings with it a satisfaction that is absolutely amazing.  On a regular basis, I impact other’s lives in a meaningful way, which is something rare in this world.  But, no matter how great it is, no matter how satisfying it can be, I still need to get away from time to time.  And, believe me, friends, this is most definitely a getaway.  It’s a different world down here, one where I can forget all the drudgery and crap that comes with everyday life.  As wonderful and needed as that is, I feel a little guilty.  I mean, I’m in a beautiful house with a magnificent view, the weather for the next week looks to be fabulous, I’m with the woman I love and, for the next week at least, we have no worries.  While I was contemplating that I read the following tweet from my friend, Hugh Hollowell, who runs Love Wins, a homeless ministry.  He said “Preparing to share food in the park with our homeless peeps. Anxious to hear how everyone rode the tornado out”, reminding me that, while I was sitting in the lap of luxury, others weren’t.  Those others never experience luxury; or their idea of luxury is far different from mine.  While, for me luxury is a nice house in an exotic location, for them luxury is enough to eat or a dry place to sleep.  The ability to get away and recharge is a wonderful thing, a needed thing.  I just need to remember how lucky I am to have the opportunity.