Greetings Church Family,
Several of you have asked about re-entry from sabbatical time and sabbatical time away. I have been back about five weeks now. In that five-week period, I have preached four times (once in Rhode Island) and officiated four memorials/interments, three baptisms, and two weddings. I spent two days with Pilgrim Fellowship in Boston, attended graduation parties, and have begun pastoral visits and meeting with committees.
While sabbatical feels far away (and we cannot yet enjoy Milton’s delicious “Thank you, First Church” refreshments) I have maintained a couple of practices. I am not rushing about and every day I acknowledge my limits.
In conversation with one of our deacons, we discussed how many clergy are leaving their churches and/or ministry. I think a sabbatical during COVID gave me a moment to rehab from the year. As I spent time in physical therapy and personal training rehabilitating my ankle and body, I did not live by a schedule or with my phone in my hand. I did not read email or watch/read/listen to news. I only had a few emergency calls.
With my Guilford mug close (thank you Marcia Myhre), I sat on the large front porch of our small purple house. I thought, painted, wrote, read, prayed, and dreamed.
I was reminded of my Boston days as a volunteer for a program for women living with HIV and AIDS. My “buddy” was from Haiti. She said she prayed for her former and current country and yet could only focus on one tragedy at a time. “Right now,” she said, “it is dying.”
If you are weighed down by the news of life and “dying” in spirit, please hear Immacula’s words and focus on one situation at a time. A news fast or designated hour for email may sound like a privilege, but it may be the way to deal with life: one thing at a time.
Stop. Dance. Breathe. Listen. Stare. Be still and know that God is God. Our hearts and minds can only hold so much . . .