Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Grief and Opportunity of Lost Plans

I am not one to believe that God foils our plans. I do believe that God hold us in love, regardless of how we think we need it.

This summer has not been easy. For years I have looked with some envy at my colleagues and friends who have had sabbaticals, wondering how that time could be invested when I had such an opportunity. This is my first sabbatical. Melanie had one soon after our youngest daughter was born over 10 years ago. She rested, bonded with our daughters, finished her Doctor of Ministry thesis, and took a few continuing education trips. We have colleagues and friends who traveled the world on their sabbaticals and had extraordinary adventures. Melanie and I dreamed of our own extraordinary adventures and made plans. Very few of those plans have become reality. While this time away from the pressures of work and the tyranny of the urgent has brought me closer to my family, much needed rest, positive health practices, and some reconnection with friends, our dreams have significantly shifted. This happens in life, but that knowledge does little to slow the grief. I do not want to go on in great detail about what caused us to cancel/postpone our trip to South America. There are health concerns that are not life or death, but led us to decide that we could not roll with the punches of these issues on another continent. It hurt to make the decision. We recognize the great privilege and gift of the opportunity to do what we were doing, but it still hurt.

I had made promises that I would write more frequently, and share some insights to this time of Sabbath that scripture regularly addresses, yet remains an elusive mystery for us moderns. Writing is an important exercise for me—as a creative person, and for my overall health. I have been numb, and not sure what to say. Almost every ounce of creative energy has gone toward the wellness of our household and the relationships therein. Melanie and I are well. We invest a lot of energy communicating with each other and working to enjoy a simpler schedule. We have discovered some of the joys of Tacoma and Pierce County that we had probably taken for granted. We both have a history of adventurous travel, even with our children. Close proximity outings are things we usually see as something to be done someday. Today has turned out to be that nebulous someday, for the good of our household. There are lessons learned and that will be learned from this realization, and I will write about some of those in the days ahead.

You need not worry about us. You may pray for us, if that is what you do. Know that your friendship is important to us, and that God is in the midst of that love.

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