I did my best to be patient towards the end of August, when I had been told that I would be notified of the status of the grant that I had submitted for my upcoming renewal leave. Each morning I would check my email with bated breath, hoping to get some news – any news – one way or the other. Then, it came. On a Tuesday morning while I was on the phone with my friend Bryan, my computer dinged – a signal that I had received an email. I quickly opened my email and saw that it was from the grant program organization. I opened the email, feeling very much like a high school senior opening an admissions letter from a university, only to see the words, “Unfortunately, your proposal was not among those selected for funding this year.”
To put it succinctly: we’re still on! While the decision about this grant is unfortunate, it doesn’t change much about my plans for next summer. Because while the money we had requested was sizeable, the vast majority of it was to cover expenses for one international trip for me and my family. At this point, that particular trip won’t happen; but that’s okay! The point of this renewal leave isn’t about one experience. It is about the gift of time.
When I arrived at CtK eight years ago, Lydia was three years old, and Micah was almost two. I remember thinking how busy I was at the time, shuffling the kids to and from preschool every day amidst my own schedule full of meetings and visits and travel for various committees and boards on which I sat. But life has only gotten more complicated over the years, and my schedule now boggles my mind. As the kids have grown older and their participation in sports and other extracurricular activities has expanded, the time our family has together in any given week has slowly diminished. We still do our best to hold to the commitment to have dinner together each evening, but sometimes that’s about all we get.
One of the focal points of the renewal leave has always been about the gift of time that such a leave would afford me. Not time for work, but time to just be: to be alone, to be with God in prayer, and to be with my family. Grant money isn’t needed for that. All that is needed is, well, time! I’m already looking forward to the sense of rejuvenation and renewal that this gift of time will bring.
What will I do with all this time? That will be detailed in my Scribe articles over the next few months. Stay tuned.