, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As it is with so many of you, there’s a reason that vacations are so important in life and in the lives of families. It’s because there are things that absolutely must be removed and set aside for a little while from life’s equation no matter how important they may appear to be.

I’m on vacation right now, and with that, consider the following image. This is a screenshot of my phone less than eight hours after clearing all of my notifications.

I’m not so concerned with Facebook and Twitter, but rather the email.

There are eighty-two email messages, most of which have to do with things related to church or school business. Not all of them are important and can certainly wait until I return, but a good number of them are requests for information of some sort that in most circumstances assume and expect an immediate response.

Fortunately for me, over the course of the next twelve days or so away from our home in Michigan, I will prove my full capability in fiber and spirit for ignoring each and every one of them. That number on the screen will only get bigger. And I won’t be bothered in the least. Jen, of course, doesn’t believe me. She thinks that each time I go into the bathroom, I’m clicking and responding to all of the urgent messages because I never seem to be able turn it off. But I’m not. And I can. Truly. Maybe a few years ago I wouldn’t have held such a capacity to disconnect, but not anymore—which brings me back to where I began.

There’s a reason that vacations are so important in life and the lives of families. As a pastor, I’m on call 24/7. And a work week is rarely less than eighty hours. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I signed up for this stuff. And what I signed up for is everything I expected. And the people I serve, I love them all. Still, when I’m vacationing—which is just this one, tiny fragment snatched from within a billowing cumulus of 365 days—I have learned to turn it all off, and with that, I feel better.

And for the record, if I do have my phone with me in the commode, it’s merely to scroll through the photos from the day or to respond to Angels’ Portion pings from this or that app or friend. Nothing more. Nothing less. And that’s no big deal. Of course, I also do what I went into the bathroom to accomplish in the first place.

Like your job and homestead, there are certain whiskies that deserve to be set aside and forgotten, too. Although I’m pretty sure that the Traverse City Whiskey Company’s North Coast Rye edition isn’t necessarily one of them. If anything, this stuff is pleasant enough, even if only for a moment, to make me regret leaving home.

In the nosing, there’s a calming warmth of rye soaked in molasses. A sip delivers a little bit of a briny, but also sweetened, butter on freshly toasted rye bread.

The medium finish does little to pester. While it does seem to suggest that the bread may have been in the toaster a little longer than what one might normally prefer, still, by this, the emerging char submits that you may have been under-toasting your bread in the past. In that sense, it teaches you something new.

In the end, this whiskey isn’t too complex or imposing. It’s pretty straightforward, easy, and unforgettable—unlike email and everything like vacation.