Sprint to the Finish

It’s been nearly two weeks since the last time I posted to this space.

The end of the semester and the holidays are always like this: so much stuff to do, and so little time in which to do it. This year, however, the season feels extraordinarily intense because it’s leading into a sabbatical — a deliberate period of ceasing from one’s regular work in order to allow for greater reflection and renewal.

My employer firmed up its sabbatical policies a few years ago, and all the circumstances have aligned to allow me to take advantage of this opportunity after nearly 16 years in full-time ministry. I’m very excited to experience a sabbatical. Until it starts, however, I’m feeling extra-busy handing off ministry responsibilities, tying off loose ends, and such.

These weeks feel like the Friday afternoon before Sabbath. Provisions must be purchased! Preparations must be made! The sun is sinking toward the horizon, and when it goes to rest, so must I. There’s something kind of fun about the frenzy — but also unsettling. What happens if I don’t get everything prepared exactly to my satisfaction (or the satisfaction of others)? What if something unexpected comes up at the last minute? Pre-Sabbatical-scurrying creates a strange feeling of anticipation and anxiety.

There are also times I find myself tuning out the impending Sabbath sundown and just wanting to hole up — be done with things already. Like a student’s “senioritis,” I guess. I fall into viewing my last round of ministry activities as obligations to be endured, rather than pleasures to be embraced. Weird and unfortunate… But true.

I really don’t know what to expect from this last little sprint to the finish, but I’m going to run the race the best I can — and then see what it’s like on the other side of the finish line.

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