A couple months ago I had to admit that my sabbatical is over. All the signs are there. I am not zipping off to go climb mountains. I am not writing for my own enjoyment. I am not in some expensive training. I haven't made a video in some time--though I did experiment with Tik-Tok and might go back...I guess.
Mostly it is work now. Church work is good work, of course, and I love being a pastor. Still...my energy is going into that work instead of where I have put it for discreet blocks of my time over the past year. Now it is going into programs and preaching prep. It is going into integrating what I have learned about myself and about the ministry. Honestly the spare time that I could use for writing is spent staring out the window or watching TV. My brain is full. It needs time to digest.
Still, things did happen over the summer. There was a great deal of hiking in July. It was carefully scheduled and arranged between floods and rain. Some of the hikes were epic and grand. Others were pedestrian and brief...but better than being indoors. Allison finished her NH 48 4,000 footers in July...and I have only one left. I will say that I didn't do much filming on those hikes. Again, my brain is full enough and I just wanted to experience them. I didn't even really take many pictures.
August--thanks to rain, work, and family commitments--did not center around the trail. We did take a road trip, though. We went back out to the Midwest where we moved after college so that I could go to seminary. The seminary was in Chicago, where I got my Master of Divinity and later my Doctor of Ministry degrees. It is also where Al decided to become a social worker.
That isn't where we went on this trip. We went to Detroit and its environs, where I interned long ago. The reason was to participate in my friend Shane Montoya's installation at the Congregational Church of Birmingham. The area has changed over the last 20 years, for good and for ill. It was, however, wonderful to see friends and to inhabit old haunts where we once belonged a lifetime ago. In between we hung out with my farthest flung brother and sister-in-law with stops in State College PA both heading out and heading back. Then to Newport and New Bedford to see our eldest who lives and farms on the south coast. Life does, indeed go on.
Now we are back. I am getting back to church and preparing for the big fall opening as I have for two decades at Eliot Church and half a decade elsewhere before that. However, it is hitting differently this time around. I have become a creature of habit. I hit the gym more than I did before. I still get out on walks whenever I can. My garden is the best it has ever been.
Every day there is a project. I harvest, plant, and re-pot frequently. Occasionally I mend things. This is new. I have never been a handy person. Now I sometimes repair, re-string and play cheap instruments at the shed table where I take care of garden needs.
The church has a great deal to figure out. I do too. Not the least of these "figuring" has to do with this Sabbath Walks blog. I do not know what it will become. I have many potential posts, though...if I can find the time. Some are about hiking. Some about the garden. Some are about the spiritual life. Some about folk music. I guess we shall see won't we? I have to do some emptying first.
I am a full-time pastor in a small, progressive church in Massachusetts. This blog is about the non-church things I do to find spiritual sustenance.