|On Orcas Island, Washington State
Today is the last day of my sabbatical. Thanks to the gracious decision of our church Elders and the hard work of our staff, I have not been at work in 10 weeks. That’s almost 20% of the year, in case you are doing the math.
My lovely wife, Laura, worked hard to ensure I had a restful time. My daughters and friends have all been so supportive.
I had a few goals for my time away. I wanted to reconnect with the Lord, my family, and myself. I wanted to rest. I also wanted to work on a book I’m writing. I feel that I succeeded in all of those goals. I had good time in prayer, meditation, and worship. I was able to spend a great deal of time in God’s creation. I spent many hours with Laura, and with our girls. I spent time in self examination and working on finding my center. I slept, I sat around, I exercised, I played games, I chilled out. I wrote many thousands of words on the first draft of my book.
I learned a few things, too. The most important thing I learned was something I already knew: I love my wife and kids. No matter how much time I spent with them, I still wanted to spend more. This is especially true of Laura. I am so glad we have had this precious time.
I found out that I’m not defined by my job. At no point in the past ten weeks have I said “gosh, I wish I was at work.” I have not felt useless, even while doing nothing. This is especially remarkable because I actually love my job and the people in my church.
I learned some things about myself that are more interior, some “good” and some “bad,” but not the kind of things I feel like blogging about.
I learned I like to travel, I still like to drive long distances, but I also like being home. Oh, and I love Las Vegas.
I learned it is good to stop for a long time, to take it all in.
My favorite moment, out of all the great moments, was brining my family to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. It was a joyous moment of integration.
Tomorrow I return to work. I honestly feel like I could keep doing this sabbatical thing. I don’t feel ready. But it isn’t my job to feel ready. God will give me the grace for the moment in the moment. Until then, I’ll do my best to just sit here.