Thursday, March 06, 2014

Report from Sabbatical Land: Two Down, One to Go

March 6. Two months ago I embarked on a three month sabbatical leave from All Saints. A month from today I'll be "back in the saddle" teaching a Confirmation Class on Proclamation and Evangelism. Two down/One to go.

So how's the sabbatical thing going?


One of the challenges of being an Type-A personality working in the highly charged, energetic environment of a place like All Saints is having the discipline to "un-plug." Especially if discipline in general isn't one of your strong suits.

The gift of this sabbatical time -- this sabbath time -- has been the time to find a rhythm that works for me to relax, to reflect and to engage in what feels like a healthy balance.

I've cleaned out closets and sorted through "stuff" -- literally and metaphorically. I've had time to read the background pieces -- not just catch the soundbites -- on the news front. I've read fiction, re-read some old favorites (Madeline L'Engle; Joan Chittister; Mary Oliver) and gotten hooked on "House of Cards." I've found new apps to play with on my iPhone (the #waterlogue water color of my back yard illustrating this post a case in point.)

Speaking of my garden -- it looks great. My animals are thrilled with all the "mommy time" and I've even managed -- in fits and starts -- to make some progress on the "get out and walk more often" goal. (A week of travel and ten days of bronchial flu kind of knocked me off that horse, but I'm getting back on!)

I enjoyed time with justice colleagues at the Episcopal Urban Caucus Assembly in February and am looking forward to some time at the end of the month with the Planned Parenthood folks and the Marriage Task Force in DC and Baltimore.

And I've been working on the foundation for the narrative history piece I want to write about the "Episcopal Inclusion Wars." The luxury of the time to wallow around in old press clippings, essays, timelines and reflections continues to inspire me to give thanks for all those -- known and unknown to the annals of the archives -- who have labored so long, so hard and so faithfully to make God's inclusive love tangible in and through the Episcopal Church.

No, it isn't "written yet." No, I'm not even sure exactly what form it's going to take. I'm still just living with it to see where it takes me.

And that right there has been perhaps the greatest gift of sabbatical -- so far. The gift of letting go. Of deadlines. Of expectations for what I'd "do" or "accomplish" with this time away. It's an old axiom -- the one about being human beings rather than human "doings" -- and it will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who knows me at ALL that I have always struggled to prioritize the being over the doing.

And here I sit. It's almost noon and I'm still in my sweats not really "dresssed" for the day. And I am intensely aware of the gift of mindfully being present in this moment. Giving thanks for the gernaiums blooming on the porch, the sun on the lawn, the breeze coming in through the window and playing the windchime hanging by the door, the brown lab sleeping by my feet and the kitty snoozing on the bed.

THAT'S how "this sabbatical thing" is going. Thanks for asking! :)

No comments: