My summer of Sabbath has come to an end. I leave tomorrow for BVS orientation and a year of volunteering. I will no longer enjoy the leisure of sleeping in, planning my own days, and refusing to think about anything of theological import. I’m ready – itching for something to sink my teeth into, to direct my energies toward. But this summer has been very, very good. Time to rest, relax, let things settle and lie fallow is necessary.
In the last four months, I have read 21 books, slept in 15 different beds, traveled approximately 6,834 miles, driven through 14 states, posted 16 blogs, collected a grand total of $35 in income, attended 0 classes, and held only a few theological discussions. I have lain by the pool and the ocean, swung on porch swings and in hammocks, walked through mountain trails, neighborhoods and city streets, and cooked curries, potatoes and pork loins. I have shared innumerable conversations and cups of coffee, laughed hysterically and cried with abandon. I have had the rare realization or epiphany, but mostly I have allowed all the swirling things in my head to come to a full and complete stop, to keep their hands and arms inside the car, and just settle, already.
Here’s what happened when they did: I sat back. I relaxed. I let go of my grip a little. I noticed that in the course of seminary, I had come to hate the things that I loved the most. I found that Home is a mobile and elusive concept – and that maybe I was already there. I watched the world in awe. I wore pink. I appreciated the people who surround me. I was joyful, though I considered all the facts. I listened, and I ate. I washed the dishes to wash the dishes. I did not pray but I knelt down in the grass, idle and blessed. I heard the birds at break of day. I took spontaneous roadtrips. I rejoiced and remembered. I tried on enjoyment as a primary posture. I reveled in beauty. I ate cheese and grapes for dinner. I chose the given with a fierce and pointed will. I loved the world, and liked being in it.
Take a sabbatical. Let your fields lie fallow and your swirling thoughts settle. Invest in some silence, and wander far afield. Set aside the seventh day and keep it holy, the seventh year and restore everything to its rightful place. Then, come with me and watch with delight as everything falls apart, spectacularly, again.
I honestly can’t wait.