Yesterday was the first official day of my sabbatical. The morning was one of contrasts. For me there was no rushing out the door to the prison. However, Anna was stressed and rushing to get away to be with her mom to offer support as she waited for a procedure, the boys were writing their first exams of the week, Barb and Jerry Wittstock’s (friends of ours visiting from Alberta) were packing to return home and I had no plans... well... I had lots of plans but they were washed away with the rain!
Anna got away. The boys got off to school. Barn and Jerry were gone. And I was alone. I read. I did some mapping. I read some more... and I spent some time reflecting on the pictures above the Justin shot over the weekend (the sun did shine for two days).
“The grass withers... and the dandelions are scattered...” My paraphrase of Isaiah 40.
A wise person once said to me about ministry, “Put your hand in a bucket of water and take it out... when you are gone that is about how much you will be missed.” But we keep putting our hand in the bucket. Keep trying to make a difference in the waters of creation. Keep trying to speak to power and offering hope to those who are despairing.
Some days it feels as if it is all futile. Life dries up and all that is left is a puff-ball... a big wind comes along and all is blown away... only the stalk remains and the invisible roots sunk deep into the ground.
And then there is a a glimpse of one of the seeds bringing a splash of colour to some distant corner: a call from young person, connected to a former pastoral charge who is training as a social worker and speaking passionately for justice, a visit from a former inmate and chapel participant who speaks with such joy of his wife and daughter and new job, a lasting relationship with a family of which you baptized three of their children... and the realization comes in a new way “for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven”.
The theme for this time of sabbath is integrated with the theme of the National CSC Chaplaincy Conference: Connections That Make A Difference. Perhaps part of the learning for me is the acknowledgement of the difference that I have made in the lives of others?
On the sabbath road... soon!