Monday, May 20, 2013

Sabbatical Musings #7 - Disappointment

   Disappointment?  How could you be disappointed with 3 months away from work, and travelling?  I'm not disappointed - although it's harder than you think.  I love working, and miss the routine, and being useful.  Working out travel details with various family and/or friends can get complex.  One person told me, "If I had a sabbatical, I'd go totally offline and not be in touch with anybody."  But I have a wife, 3 grown children, aging parents, and all the ongoing issues that don't just vanish because I'm on sabbatical.
   So why the title "Disappointment"?  The worst part about my sabbatical is the truth that grieves me:  I have disappointed people.  Some I probably am not even aware of!  But I know parents who were very disappointed I wasn't there for their child's Confirmation last Sunday, people who were disappointed I didn't attend a funeral, helping professionals who needed me to do something for them but I was just flat out gone, church members who brought visitors to hear me preach and were disappointed (three have told me this!) I was absent, preachers who were disappointed I wasn't speaking at my usual preaching conference, and even a high school classmate I haven't seen for years who heard about my sabbatical and felt crushed because she has a tough job that would never permit even 3 weeks off, much less months - and she Facebooked me to say she was disappointed (her word) in me. 
   I hate disappointing people.
   I love the fact that I have the privilege of living a life that matters, at least a little, to some people - and so they are disappointed when I'm not there, when I can't help.  I love being able to help, at least a little, and have built my life to be as dependable and accessible a person as possible.  So the disappointment is sad for me.  A few have asked why I didn't do the sabbatical at some other time and not miss what they thought of as important.  Good question - but it's tough to block out time that doesn't block out something, and that works for my family.
   I hope anyone who might be disappointed in me might be merciful, and count on me again once I'm back.