Today is the first day of a 3 month renewal leave. I’ve been straining towards this day for a while now, tired, discouraged, dulled. Sensing god’s presence, but without much energy to do anything about it. So, here I am, and it feels like a gift.
I have hopes and plans for this time. Traveling – to the Bay area to see our youngest daughter Helen, to Vermont to spend time with my sister and brother – to Maine with friends. I’ve been keeping a reading wish list for months and it’s 4 pages long. 2 introductory art classes will stretch me – for half a century I’ve lived with self applied label “not artistic”. I have several friends I want to reconnect with. There will be time to garden, to bike, to walk in the woods or on the beach with Tony the Wonderdog. There will be time to just hang out with Stewart, and with our other two daughters, Georgia and Emily - without feeling like I need to be doing something else.
It is an amazing privilege to feel called by God to serve in a local church. To share with people on a profound level, to speak for justice and compassion, to teach and preach, to baptize and bury, to help people prepare to marry and heal after divorce, to watch children grow, to walk with folks as they learn to listen to God speaking to them. It is a joy to work with colleagues who are dedicated, creative and inspiring and with lay people who are appreciative and insightful.
But, I find, it also takes a toll. I almost never have two whole days off in a row. Every time the phone rings, or the doorbell buzzes, it may be an emergency. So many evening meetings. Working weekends means not much time for friends and family. Living in a fishbowl (“Hey, I looked out the window during worship and saw a new lamp in your window!”) People who are difficult and unrelenting in their oppositional or judgmental behavior. This is the way it is and I knew it well when I answered the call. Most of the time things stay in balance.
Right now it’s time to hit the reset button. Starting today. It will take time to unwind. I think I’ll move a little book rack downstairs beside my chair. I have two new devotional books. I’m going to get some colored pencils. Tonight, Stewart and I will meet up with friends and family and hear some music.
I am thankful.