In case you haven’t noticed, I have been on sabbatical for the last 10 weeks. Thank you! Lee Ann and I were able to slow down, experience life at a different pace and savor our days. We enjoyed extra time with family and even caught up with some old friends. We traveled by boat, car, plane, and even a train! We saw northern lights in the Alaskan night and took in the Fall colors in our Colorado mountains. I saw a Broncos game with my grandson and had some extra time with both our daughters. I read a little and rested a lot. It was a good season. Thank you
Sabbaticals don’t take place in a vacuum, of course. For me to take that much time away meant others had to work all the harder. I am grateful for Jordan and the whole staff for all their extra work and all they did to make this possible. There were no cobwebs in the life of New Hope, either. I heard about a terrific Hands of Hope day, I’m impressed by all the new pictures in Realm (we went from less than 70 to over 220!), and celebrate that our Preschool finally received its Daycare License. Wow!
Before I left on sabbatical I shared a quote on “Rest” from author and poet David Whyte. They seem even more relevant now.
Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange...
I experienced rest in new ways on this sabbatical and saw again that more than just a break, rest is an essential part of life. This time was a true gift and a time of renewal for body, mind, heart, and soul. It was an occasion to reset the inner compass as well as reestablish the natural rhythms of life. Again from Whyte:
Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.
David Whyte, Consolations
I am grateful to be part of a congregation that understands the importance of sabbaticals for its staff and plans for them in the rhythms of its life. It is good to be back in such a place. I will have some more reflections to share and will do so in the future. For now, I am excited about our next season together and how God is at work. May we be more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, and more of a place where people find a home, build a life and make a difference.