First and foremost, let me say thank you again for the gift of my summer sabbatical. It truly was a time of rest, renewal and refilling my well of the spirit. I am continuing to “unpack” – as we used to say in seminary - all my learnings and thoughts from my time away. I will have more on that in future Congregationalists, Word for Children, etc. During my sabbatical, I went to a poetry conference in New Hampshire, on a spiritual (and silent) retreat in Connecticut, to a few family reunions and on a Great Lakes cruise. I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. I even got to cross off something on my bucket list – going to The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan!
Being on sabbatical gave me much needed time to wander, to wonder and to work on my poetry, artwork, writing, thinking, praying and more. Even coming back for the Mission Trip and spending a fruitful week in Denver added to this.
So now I am transitioning back in and trying to hold on to the lessons learned from my time away. It is not easy. I had to take a nap the first Sunday I was back! But I plan to hold myself accountable to the lessons learned. That may be the most lasting gift of all. By giving me this time of reflection and renewal, you have not only helped me to refresh my spirit but also to shape my ministry.
We all need to find ways to give ourselves this gift of time. We all need help from time to time to refine our focus and see, see who we are, what matters the most and where we want to put our energies. We don’t always have the luxury of taking a month or two off, but we can start by finding ways to carve out time. Maybe it is morning prayer or mediation, reading that book we have always meant to, or walking, calling a friend, or any of the countless ways we refresh our souls. Prayer is always a great place to start. I know it is where I started back in June – praying that God would bless my sabbatical and would bless the wonderful FCC community who gave it to me.
I will be sharing more stories in the months to come. But for now, just know that your gift was appreciated. More than I can say.