Today is the first day of my four week "mini-sabbatical." I am still sort of working out what it is going to look like exactly. I know that I will be doing some reading, some writing, some praying, some worshiping, and some travelling. In what order and at what ratio is going to emerge as the weeks go by.
I decided that, although it isn't a secret (it's all officially approved by the SPRC), we wouldn't make a big general announcement that I would be out of the picture for a month. There's really no need to do so. The rest of the staff can handle things at church; in fact they'll probably not even notice I'm gone! Things are clicking, there's a lot of natural momentum with the ministries, and the people of the congregation are so amazing, my job is mostly just to get out of their way and cheer, anyway.
There are basically two responses I hear when I tell people that I am going on sabbatical. The first is "Oh, what's wrong?" The second is, "Good for you!" The first response comes from a basic misunderstanding of sabbatical. Torah indicates that every seventh year is to be a sabbatical year, in which the ground would remain untilled, debts be forgiven, and servants released. The personal sabbatical for me then, is an opportunity to let my spiritual soil recover from seasons of tilling and harvest, to release my grudges and stressors, and to allow God to renew and refresh me so that I might continue in my calling. I'm 36 years old, and nothing is "wrong" with me; it's just that I want to feel this good about life and ministry when I'm 56, 76, 96 years old, too.
I am not going to sabbatical from blogging, though, just from work at the church.
Oh, I have to share what one church member said. Erin and the kids are still going to be around at the church, of course. So Mike very helpfully suggested that, when people ask her where I am, Erin should say that we are having marrital problems and that they should mind their own business! Yeah, that should generate a little conversation, huh?