I am so glad to return to you after my four months of sabbatical! I hope the time on your end has been rich and meaningful. For me, it has been restful and nourishing. I am so grateful to have had this time.
I never wanted to enter sabbatical with any kind of “plan,” and I’m grateful that Chalice leaders never asked me for one. For me, the whole point of sabbatical is to step outside the routines of scheduling and planning, striving and achievement. But in hindsight, of course, it is clear that anyone taking a sabbatical these days has an implicit or explicit plan of “recovering from pandemic stresses.”
Easier said than done.
“Resting” sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? I imagined sleeping in, enjoying time outdoors, and—as much as possible—staying out of my office and off my computer at home. And I did these things. But after my first month of sabbatical, I didn’t feel much more rested than when I began. I started to worry: What if “time off” wasn’t going to be enough to recover from the past few years? And what does “recover” even mean?
Thankfully, part of my sabbatical non-plan was meeting with a spiritual director every two weeks, so I had someone with whom to consider these questions. I’ve learned that there are seven types of rest: physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, and spiritual. It may not be enough, these days, to recognize that we need rest. Developing self-awareness of what kind of rest we may need is a powerful skill in this era of never-ending challenges, changes, and choices.
It helped me to realize that emotional and mental rest were what I needed most. That realization helped me to set aside the pile of books I had imagined myself reading. That realization also guided me in finding an assortment of enjoyable podcasts, tv shows, and movies, while staying away from the kind of heavy non-fiction I often seek out.
And then in October, I got to enjoy the luxury of being able to throw myself fully into watching my beloved San Diego Padres play in postseason games. I grew up going to Padres games with my parents and am a lifelong fan. I will always remember the fun of this special year, having the time available to be completely absorbed. It was a gift to me.
I’m looking forward to seeing and talking with you all as I get back to Chalice. I hope to see you soon.
Blessings and love to you,