Reflections for August 19, 2013
I will be away on a renewal and study leave from August 15 to September 15. As I write those words, I realize that I feel some discomfort with the idea of leave-taking. It has been suggested that every clergy take at least a one month leave every four years. I have entered my fortieth year of active ministry and this will be my first renewal leave.
I come from a farm family that taught me to work very hard and be very goal-focused. Cows and crops do not like it when the farmer takes a month for renewal. I was raised to be more comfortable with doing than with being. When I told my parents last week that I was taking a leave, my Dad asked, “What’s wrong?” He assumed that there must be something terribly wrong if I were taking time off for renewal.
During this month away, I plan to read many books. I have novels and church-related books stacked up in my study at home. I have started a writing project, and I hope to write for at least an hour each day. I plan to meditate, practice yoga, and keep Sabbath for a change. I will do some gardening because I feel a connection with the sacred when I have garden dirt on my hands and knees. I plan to head to the ocean and the mountains; in the vastness of these places I feel close to God.
I want to thank the Staff Parish Relations Committee for granting this leave. I am always grateful for the opportunity to serve with this wonderful community of faith. And I leave you in the excellent care of the best staff in Methodism. We are blessed indeed!