Monday, September 06, 2010
Back from Sabbatical
I have been on Sabbath Leave all summer following the instructions I received from my congregation to engage in rest, restoration and re-energizing. As I keep telling people, I spent most of June sleeping, July dealing with and recovering from a relatively minor surgery, and August preparing for Re-Entry. By the time I returned on September 1st I was SO ready to get back that I showed up in my office at 7 am! Not surprisingly, everything went just fine while I was gone. Three members had shared my workload; one preaching, one doing pastoral care and one taking care of whatever administrative duties the church secretary couldn't handle herself. I did learn that some things simply hadn't happened and now we get to decide whether those things are really necessary.
Walking into the Sanctuary on Sunday morning felt like coming home. Standing in the narthex and looking toward the Table I couldn't help but sigh one of those great big "ahhhhhh good" sighs. Standing in the pulpit to share the prayer concerns and celebrations of my flock, singing the response to the Scripture reading, wandering up the center aisle during the message - it all just felt so right. (My sermon felt a bit disjointed but I really expected that. I knew there was way more I wanted to say than there would be time for.) Standing at the Table, sharing the Feast of Love, holding hands with everyone in the closing circle . . . it all felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And as if all that wasn't enough, after worship I was showered with hugs and kisses and presented with a huge chocolate cake.
Any doubts I may have had about where I belong or what I should be doing in that burned out daze before my Sabbath Leave began were gone. This feels too right not to be what God called me to do with my life.
Still, some things can be expected to change now that I've had some time to prayerfully consider what brought me to such an exhausted state. I will take two days off each week instead of one. Part of what made me crazy before sabbatical was that except for Sundays I have felt much more like an administrator than a pastor. Once I walked into the office that was it - I was stuck there all day no matter what I had hoped to do with my time. So nowyes""> I will dedicate one day every week to visitation and one to studying/writing. That means only two days a week will be spent in the office. Of course, it is a given that "man proposes, God disposes." My plans will run into obstacles; meetings and conferences will happen on visitation days and days off, and so on. But still, now that I know just how important these things are and will continue to be, it will be a priority to make sure they happen, so that I may better serve God.
It is such a blessing to be back!