Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sabbatical Musings #5 - day 30

     So as of today, I haven’t worked for a month.  That’s not entirely true.  A few little things have come up (oh, and one fairly large crisis), and a couple of dozen people have approached me with “I know you’re on sabbatical, but…”  I don’t mind at all.  But what’s surprising is how busy I have been – helping me understand what retirees mean when they say “I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work.”  This sabbatical does make me wonder what my own retirement, looming out there a decade or so from now, will be like.

     One person reprimanded me for blogging, declaring I should be totally off line.  But I like to write, it's energizing, not work at all - and I assured her I wouldn't mind if she took a little sabbatical from reading.  She laughed; we're pals.

     My great comfort in being away is how great church is going without me!  Attendance is steady, even above average for this time of year.  I watched the live stream this past Sunday, and heard stellar music and powerful preaching.  The Church is the people, the Church is of God…  I have labored under no illusions that I am necessary to the Church, and it is tremendously gratifying to see the Church being the Church without me lifting a finger!  I do miss worshipping with my Church family.

     I’ve spent some time with a spiritual director – a warm, gregarious diocesan priest who listened attentively to me talk about my life, and did so through the lens of God’s love, holiness and call.  We spoke of how to pray, and how to be grateful to God and joyful in life.  I recommend this kind of conversation to everybody.

     It has been quirky and a tad unsettling to run into people who know I’m on sabbatical.  At the Harris-Teeter the other night, a woman’s eyes flew open, and she told me quite resolutely “You’re not supposed to be here!”  But I really was supposed to pick up the items on my list. 

     If you have seen me, you will know I’m attempting to go semi-incognito by sporting facial hair.  Don’t worry, I’ll shave it soon.  I didn’t really plan to grow a beard.  I just didn’t shave one day, nor the next… and it’s a lousy beard.  I remember in high school wanting desperately to be able to grow a beard, and it’s fascinating to contemplate the meaning of facial hair throughout history.  For instance, during the Civil War, men grew beards to assert their masculinity.  I think the only thing I’ve been asserting is I’m out of the routine.  But not for long:  it gets on my nerves and requires more maintenance than I’d imagined.

     So, more sabbatical to come.  If you’re reading this, I’m honored, humbled, and a little surprised you’re interested.  But friends do these things with one another, so thanks for reading.

3 comments:

  1. Good word, James. Continue to enjoy your time. I enjoy keeping up with one of my friend.

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  2. Sure did miss you today though George did a great job. I always feel sorry for those who work with you when they have to step into your shoes:) After reading your post before this one I have to say that your sermons cannot possibly get any better so no pressure there when you get back. I recently read your memoir and I have been meaning to thank you for it. One of many things that really stood out to me was how those of us born in the early 1950's with parents who had no concept of being "helicopters" ended up so focused and in love with our children. Today on Mother's Day I feel particularly blessed to have had that experience. Blessings to you. Jan Felts

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  3. the consensus among the ladies in my life is that the beard is becoming and should stay.

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