Note: Pastor Tim will be gone on his Renewal Leave from June 6 to September 19, 2022.
I began the early stages of planning for my sabbatical in May 2019. That means that I’ve been working towards and thinking about and planning for this upcoming period of rest and renewal for three years. Three years! And now, it’s here. I will begin my Renewal Leave in ten days (as of this writing)!
Over the last year, I’ve used these newsletter articles to talk about the kinds of things that I plan to do during these fifteen weeks of time away. I’ve talked about my hope for this period of leave to help me tend to my roots – those formative pieces of my life that make me, me: my faith, my family, and my (inner) self. Practices of rest, prayer, travel, staying put, hobby-ing, reading, writing, playing, swimming, hiking, playing racquetball, and lounging will form a new rhythm of life for me during this time away. I am so excited and grateful for the gift of this time.
And yet, there is a part of me that has been struggling over the last month or so. As my Renewal Leave has steadily approached and become ever more a certainty, I admit that I have felt a kind of anxiety arise within me. At first, this anxiety seemed to arise because I have never had the gift of time off like this before. I have been in school or working my whole life. So, to suddenly have fifteen weeks away from work feels jarring. After sitting in that unease for a while, a new emotion sprung within me: sadness!
It’s an unexpected feeling, to be sure, but – on further reflection – it makes some sense. Part of my Renewal Leave involves intentionally separating myself from Christ the King Lutheran Church. On the one hand, this is practical and necessary from a leadership point of view: Deacon Mandy is the one who will be taking the lead on many aspects of ministry while I’m gone, and if I keep showing up it makes her job very difficult. Furthermore, the work of my Renewal Leave is precisely NOT TO WORK! And while my work here often doesn’t feel like work because you all are such dear wonderful people and friends, I have to be mindful of my boundaries. The downside to all of this is that, by not being here, I am consciously excising myself from a foundational community to which I belong. It’s like removing a part of my identity. And that makes me sad.
Still, I’m ready to begin this time away. And I’m ever so grateful for your generosity in gifting me this time away. I will look forward to September, when I will return and we can share all that this summer has meant for us.