To Breathe Differently
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Its been a long six years that have flown by so quickly.
I often talk about how much I love what I do. I have been given a chance to bear daily witness to commitments of a United Church of Christ centered on love, grounded in faith, and committed to building a just world for all.
I have traveled home and abroad giving voice to the proclamation of a gospel that recognizes in Jesus a pathway to shalom and a call to cultivate the beloved community. I have listened to people all over the world give thanks for that gospel and the way it has changed lives – changed their lives.
I get to live out my call to ministry every day with some of the brightest, most dedicated, creative, enduring, hopeful, persistent, motivated, humble, brilliant, and compassionate leaders. I watch how every day they speak truth to power, accompany the suffering, comfort the afflicted, advocate for impoverished, the oppressed, the marginalized, preach the gospel, care for the sick and dying, face down moral turpitude, encourage the downtrodden, give hope to the desperate, and find joy in the simple gifts. This whole enterprise that is the United Church of Christ is a wonder to behold.
I work long hours, wrestle with weighty matters, make important decisions, bear the burdens of endless travel – all of which is exhausting but none of which in any way diminishes the love I have for this Church and the work I feel so privileged to be called to do.
And now I get to rest.
I have been gifted with a sabbatical – a season of respite and a time away from the daily toils and stresses. I feel so very fortunate. The last time I did this, I was asked by my coach what I experienced. I told her, “I breathe differently.” Two weeks into the sabbatical, I noticed that the stress and tension that tightens the chest, that sharpens the mind, that heightens the senses and that is so ever-present you stop noticing it as anything but the normal way of life had disappeared. I breathed easier without that tension. I slept better and longer. I relaxed easier.
I look forward to those easy breaths.
I need more sleep.
I am grateful to work in a setting that values long-term health and encourages these seasons of renewal.
Our sacred texts speak of the wisdom and the need for sabbath rest. Both the body and the land require that in order to sustain the abundance of blessings they each have to offer.
I do run my engine hard – and that takes a toll.
For a while I will slow down – invest more in my being than my doing. I will get to be husband and dad and grandpa and neighbor and friend and sibling and son for a season during which the long days and short nights that re-orient my priorities are halted.
Gentle listener, I shall return. I will breathe a new spirit into my heart and soul and return to do the work I was called to do, a work I love doing and in which I take great pleasure. Until then, be of good cheer, stay safe, and count all your blessings on this, our journey Into the Mystic.
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