I knew I was going to blog a bit during the sabbatical, but I didn't know how or when or what. But today is a good day to write something.
My sabbatical officially started Monday and I was able to do some of what I want to do during this precious time. I had lunch with Lisa and Marnie, I saw Loretta, my spiritual director and Monday night I sat on my front porch with Debbie, from Wellstreams, and drank wine and talked about it all. A very good beginning.
What I need and want it to rest and to spend time with God. Of course, God is always with us, but "spending time with God" is living in awareness of God's presence. And I need that - more of that. Loretta asked me how I was going to "check in" with God and that has been my image already. As I periodically write in my journal and read from The Book of Hours by Thomas Merton I begin by writing that I am "checking in." A good reminder.
The word that came to me today was "unencumbered." I feel unencumbered. I am not responsible for the church right now. I am unencumbered. When Chuck and I have been places - like to the Gettysburg Civil War Museum or a beautiful Garden in Richmond Va - we have no one else with us. No friends, children, grandchildren, we are unencumbered. I do not have to write a sermon this week or a paper for my Wellstreams class. I am unencumbered. And I feel so free and so much peace already.
We loved our trip to Gettysburg. We heard the story of our nation and its stain of slavery and the pain of the civil war. We saw the places where things happened - where a minister was shot on the steps of his church, where yankees and rebels fought in the streets of the city, where the cavalry gathered in the wheatfields or the ridges. And it is our country - a place of bravery and courage and sometimes foolishness and mistakes. But it is our country and I loved learning about it. We also made a point of going to a restaurant where we were served "civil war food" - Game Pie which was delicious. It was a nice visit for us.
Today we are in Richmond visiting Chuck's sister Jan and brother Don. Don just got out of the hospital after 9 days, so we are happy to see him and to just be together. Right now as I type this Chuck and his sister are looking at old family photos together, deciding what to send home to Lisa.
Tomorrow we travel to NC to see my uncle Jim for a couple of days.
So, this sabbatical is exactly what I need. Time for remembering, time with fmaily, time with Chuck, and through it all time with God - checking in and remembering the blessing of this life.