September 1, 2020
It's officially the first day of my sabbatical. I've had some vacation days, so it wasn't too different than the last few days...
...I ran errands with my parents to get supplies for a craft project and snacks for my upcoming retreat time. Got word the first of several virtual conferences I plan to attend the next couple of months was postponed (again). Made a stop at Krispy Kreme donuts since I haven't them in ages. Played Animal Crossing. Took a nap before dinner.
Things I didn't do...participate in a weekly staff conference call, think about worship planning, do any of the normal and abnormal church work I would be doing on a Tuesday, check COVID-19 numbers in Cole County.
That last one is taking intention. People I care about are affected by those numbers. But during this time, there isn't anything I can do with that information. So I'm practicing sabbatical boundaries and distance. And praying.
The next three months don't look like how I planned them out a year ago. In some ways, Plan B sabbatical actually will allow me more time to settle into rest. Less travel, less logistics to arrange. Less time with friends, colleagues, and mentors but more time with family. More opportunities to settle into a rhythm of rest and renewal.
When I was in Bethany Fellows, I made a to do list for my day of silence each retreat. Not as pressure to "accomplish" the most fulfilling day of silence, but so when I was off-kilter from not having a schedule to keep, I could remind myself of the possibilities. Remind myself that I could nap, color, read, work on a craft project, walk a labyrinth, journal. It's an ADHD coping mechanism as much as anything - when time is open ended, it helps me to have options to choose from (the same goes if you ask me what I want to have for dinner).
I have a similar list for this sabbatical time. Some items are just reminders of those basics from my Bethany Retreats. Then there is my list of tasks I've put off for lack of time, energy, or focus. Tasks that require spaciousness and freedom from the urgent that often takes over my to do lists.
All of the entries on my Sabbatical To Do lists are held lightly. Three months is not very long. So I'm going to let the Holy Spirit, my body, my mind, my soul, guide me. And leave open the possibility that what will be most life-giving during this time isn't even on the lists.
In two days I'll be in my favorite place, enjoying mountain air and listening to the babbling creeks. I think the first thing on my to do list when I get there will be to close my eyes, breathe deep, and listen. But then again, the Spirit may have a different idea...