This weekend was my first weekend on the job after my three-month sabbatical. I never really understood what my teacher friends meant when they said they missed their students and they couldn’t wait to get back to school. Until now.
I missed my community!
As my eyes skipped joyfully over the gathered community, I found myself choking back tearful gasps throughout the opening hymn at the first service. So many stories shared, so much sorrow known, so many surprising movements of God’s grace binding our lives together. Who and why God continues to gather us together in community baffles me. But, I’m humbled by the grace of this community, at this time.
The goal for my sabbatical was to finish my book before my October 1 deadline.
I nailed it! And last week I received the good news from my editor that, if all goes well, my book will be part of the roll out of new books in the fall of 2015!
If that was all that happened in those three months, I would have been satisfied. But, the unintended insights I gained about myself and my life may prove to be the most enduring.
First, though I know I am pretty competent and self-motivated, there is nothing like the encouragement of community. A few weeks prior to my deadline I put out a Facebook request for prayer. The response overwhelmed me.
You got this! Praying now. You can do it. We believe in you. Count me in.
I not only broke down in tears reading so many responses then, my eyes are also welling up in tears just thinking about them now. Even the most self-assured people are buoyed by words of encouragement.
Second, though I can work well alone, I am at my best when collaborating with others. I loved the solitude of writing alone. I hated the solitude of writing alone. Being alone forced me to put down my own thoughts on paper. When I invited a few others into the process, especially my parents, my ideas got, at the same time, bigger and more focused.
Third, though I talk about the value of vulnerability in relationship, I’m not very vulnerable, very often, to very many people. It was a huge emotional hurdle to leap when I asked a few others to read and critique my material throughout the process. It felt like walking into the shower after gym class in junior high (we still showered after gym in my era). This time I was emotionally naked but still hoping no one would make fun.
It’s not easy to be in relationship when you can’t hide.
So, in the end, I finished one project (at least this phase). At the same time, I discovered how unfinished I am.
Thank you to the staff and leadership team at Peace for allowing me this time.
It was a good sabbatical. I’m glad to be back.
It’s Monday. Find someone to encourage today even if they seem to have it all together. Peace. Kai