The Start of my Sabbatical

Fresh with the glow of your precious blessing and filled with the delicious donuts of the coffee hour celebration, I kicked off my sabbatical by cleaning my office. Seriously, you wouldn’t recognize it. There are no piles of agendas for church meetings on my desk, or post-it notes of nearly complete to-do lists wallpapering my computer, or bags of bows from “being present” in Advent cluttering the floor.  While I tackled, tidied, and tossed, there may have been a bit of Karaoke or Dance, Dance Revolution happening with the tunes from my ancient boom box, but I’d never tell you about that. I took a picture of my desk when I left that night, tired and satisfied. Maybe it was because I feared I wouldn’t recognize it!

Someone said how they hoped I would begin my sabbatical by sleeping in. It is a lovely dream. (Did you get that?) However, I am usually up before the sun. So, when we were visiting Fred’s brother and sister-in-law in Florida last week, I was obviously the first one awake. I didn’t mind, though. I rather relished the pre-dawn quiet of the lanai, listening for the sounds of the humming, croaking, chirping, calling creatures to stir with the sunrise. Of course, I ensured that the second thing awake was the Keurig, because everything is lovelier when my blessing hands are warmed with a mug of coffee. (Some of you know exactly what I mean.) Soon others in the house would wake up, too, to add their blessings to the day. Further blessings of our visit included Sandhill Crane babies, Chicken Adana Kebap, a ruthless rummy game, and lanai conversations that lasted until humming, croaking, chirping and calling creatures quieted for the night.

Returning home, I found it strange to drive to church on Sunday! But I bravely showed up at another local church. The greeting was warm and friendly, but there was no George or Jeff or Fred to chat with me before worship. So, what felt most welcoming were the hymns that somehow felt perfectly chosen for one on sabbatical. Here I am, Lord is one thing… very reminiscent of ordinations. But when we sang The Summons, which is written by the leader of the retreat my mom and I will attend in Iona, Scotland, I said to God, “Really?” And then, “Okay, okay… I am listening.”

Anyway, this week has been quiet and restful, even if I still wake up before the sun. I have enjoyed daffodils and forsythia. I have sat by rivers, wandered in woods, and perched near fields. Mostly, I have been companioned by and tending to our sweet dog, Chloe, who has been ill for weeks. She may or may not recover. Either way, I will love her now. My blessing hands, warmed by morning coffee, rub her belly, scratch her ears, and carry her up every stair she cannot climb on her own right now. This, too, is a sabbatical gift.

Sabbatical Blessing WorshipFL WetlandsSandhill Cranes