"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” - Anne Lamott
I don’t know if it is a reflection on my culture or on me that I am hesitant to admit I am taking a four-week sabbatical. While my soul desperately longs for a time of replenishment, I find myself feeling guilty for seeking it.
The word sabbatical comes from the Greek sabbatikos, which means, “of the Sabbath”. Sabbath is about rest for the weary soul, about disengaging from what’s draining you and seeking what recharges you. Most people would be hard pressed to name what recharges them.
Sabbath is not a concept that fits easily into our culture. Background noise and to-do lists drive us. There is never enough time to do the things on our plate, yet we take another helping. The notion of unplugging eludes us.
“We need to find God and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.” - Mother Teresa of Calcutta
What I do for a living is hard. I will not sugarcoat it. I deal in death, pain, loss and brokenness … daily. Then I get up and do it again. The weird part is that it is both exhausting and life giving. It gives life because it is what God calls me to. I find joy in bringing hope to those who have lost theirs. But over time I start to feel worn. Like the bristles in an old toothbrush.
I will be intentional about my rest. I will seek solitude surrounded by God’s creation. I will read good books and listen to good music. I will climb mountains and take beautiful pictures. But most of all, I will set myself apart to seek God. Because, if I do not know him intimately, I will never be able to introduce the hurting, broken and helpless to him. And that is what I’m called to do.
“When I am able to disengage myself from others and allow the Lord to liberate me from an unhealthy dependence on people, I can exist more for them, listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, speak more compassionately, play more playfully, take myself less seriously, and become more aware that my face is bright with laughter in the midst of a game I thoroughly enjoy.” - Brennan Manning, Souvenirs of Solitude