No, I am not sick. I am not running away from home (or moving to Greece). I am not eloping (definitely not doing that). None of
those things are the reason I am taking a mini sabbatical/extended vacation. If I were ill, I would tell you. If I were leaving, I would
tell you. If I were eloping…well, that would be a big surprise for everyone, including me. But those aren’t the reasons for my
By now, most of you have received a letter from me explaining that I will be taking some time off in the coming month. Beginning June 20th and on through July 17th I will be taking a break from my duties here at Tryon UMC. And the primary reason for this
break is to rest. I need a good, long rest and that’s what this time away is for.
I will be praying as I rest. And I will be asking for God’s peace and healing in this time of attending to some things than I’ve neglected but now need my care. Care of body is important and so is soul care. My hope is that when I come back to work it will be with renewed energy and the ability to do my work and ministry in the ways I want to, in the ways you should expect me to, and in the ways that would best serve God.
A good friend and mentor asked me what my definition of rest was. Good question, since rest and I are not well acquainted most of the time. My answer was that my idea of rest was having complete control over what I do and when I do it--going to bed, getting up, eating, reading--or perhaps doing absolutely nothing. That’s the first part. The second part of that answer is that regardless of what I might find myself doing (or not doing) I would not have to think about or worry about someone else’s schedule or needs or terms. (Except maybe for Jenna, who only requires me to walk with her and feed her. In return, I get lots of tail wags and dog smiles and cuddles: a fair exchange, I think.)
One of the things I will ask of you while I am away, is to pray.
· Pray for each other.
· Pray for our church.
· Pray for our community.
· Pray for my family and me.
You all have been very kind and thoughtful in so many ways. I appreciate that and you more than I will ever be able to express. And I thank you for this time away and look forward to seeing you in mid-July when I return.
In the June 19th bulletin announcements there will be some information you will need to know about who is covering specific things while I am away. If you have any questions about my sabbatical, please feel free to contact me before June 19th. If you did not receive a copy of my letter explaining details about this sabbatical but would like to read it, let me know and I’ll send it to you.
I hope that this summer each one of you will find some time to take long, deep breaths or long naps or do whatever it is you might do to let yourself rest and renew. The world is really good at making us weary. It’s not really good at giving us space or permission to care well for ourselves. So, give yourself permission to take care of what the late poet Mary Oliver called, “your one wild and precious life.” That’s exactly what I intend to do in the days ahead.
May God bless you and keep you. I wish you peace.