Today is my first official day of sabbatical! I have four months to read and pray and write, to rejuvenate and refresh, to deepen my pastoral identity and hone my pastoral skills. And it all starts today!
According to “The Plan,” I was supposed to be on retreat today and tomorrow. Then I looked at “The Calendar” and realized that I was gone two weekends ago and will be gone two weekends from now. I figured that it really isn’t fair to stick my husband with a single parenting gig too terribly often in the name of my personal spiritual enlightenment.
So “the NEW plan” was a daylong retreat—maybe hang out at the wetlands or a friend’s beautiful garden. Time for prayer, contemplation, prioritizing, dreaming, maybe even a nap!
Then came the predictions of rain. And the loose ends that still needed to be dealt with for church. And the project that had to be done by today. And the fact that I’ve been so busy getting ready for “The Sabbatical” that I haven’t even been to “The Grocery Store” this week. Which is a near-disaster in a house with two teenagers.
So here I am, living out my actual, real-life first day of sabbatical. Which looks nothing like the “The Plan” or “the New plan.” It’s probably for the best that reality is joining me right away on this sabbatical adventure. I’d hate to get too far down the path without it.
My actual, real-life first day of sabbatical has so far included:
- a trip to the copy store
- working on a project while listening to a This American Life episode about the Ten Commandments
- about half an hour in my prayer corner reading lovely notes from people in my congregation and praying that God does something with me over these next four months (dangerous, I know)
- eating lunch while reading my current mystery novel (which is about a crime solving Episcopal priest, so that’s pretty spiritual)
- and soon a major trip to the grocery store
- plus a little side project of dying my hair red because I LOVE red hair and I’m always worried that if I dye my hair everyone at church will be thinking more about my hair color than the words I’m speaking—and now it doesn’t matter! (This stuff will wash out long before August.)
Plus, I’m really looking forward to having a weekend. An actual weekend! As in no work to do on Saturday or Sunday so I can stay up late tonight and sleep in tomorrow morning.. (The fact that I will likely be in bed by 11 p.m. and up before 7 a.m. is not the point. Not the point at all.)
So far this is a good day. A gift of a day. Even if it has not gone according to “The Plan.”
I’m trying to let this reality sink in: my sabbatical consists of many, many days. I am excited and grateful and hopeful!
One project I will begin soon is getting this blog in shape. Indexing sermons and worship pieces. Finding some sort of rhythm that seems to be missing right now. (I almost wrote “finding focus,” but I’m really trying to honor this whole reality thing. This blog will never be focused. Unless I split it up into different blogs, which just seems like way too much work.) Writing about the books I’m reading, the Festival of Homiletics, and whatever else pops up of interest in the next four months. (Like maybe the fact that my ministerial credentials will be voted on by the entire delegate body at our annual Conference assembly in July. Oh yes, fun times ahead.)
Suggestions about the blog are welcome. Tips on living into a faithful sabbatical are welcome.
Peace of Christ to each of you.