Back in the Saddle Again
For the first time in two months, Tuesday means the start of a new work week for me. I had to chuckle at how easy it was to begin my familiar Tuesday morning routine after the two-month sabbatical: Put my things in my office, walk the grounds picking up trash and pulling the most egregious weeds, walk the church noting things that need attention and then enjoy the arrival of my long-lost friends, also known as the EBC staff.
One of them had the sweet and helpful idea to have a staff lunch today so I can share some sabbatical highlights with them all at the same time. Here are the top five highlights.
- Forgetting what day of the week it is. Seriously! This may not sound amazing, but I listed it first because it was one of the sweetest gifts. The weekly rhythm of my normal work schedule is so consistent that it is wonderful to untie from it and drift in blissful ignorance of regimen.
- Seeing God in places he prepared for me to see. I saw God on the golf course. Several of them, in fact. These places are beautiful because of him. I saw God in the Lake Creek valley where my folks live, in his mist that fills his meadows and his joy that comes from his river. I saw God in his tropical wonder on the Big Island of Hawaii – his thundering waves, florescent fish, lush jungles, imagination-defying blossoms and medicinal air. I saw God in his Rogue River and also in his patch of timber I call “the woods” where I worked many days this summer. He was everywhere.
- Remembering I never want to move. Replacing the carpet in our whole house required us to move virtually everything out for the installation. Wow, we have a lot of stuff! It was sort of like pretend moving and I came away hoping we can avoid the real thing for as long as possible.
- Reviewing hundreds of snapshots of grace. Back in the olden days, snapshots had to be printed to be viewed. These were then placed in big fat photo albums, or simply plopped in a box. Kristin and I have lots in both categories. I have spent countless hours sorting and scanning to preserve these precious moments, and my biggest take away is that God has been overwhelmingly gracious to me and my family.
- Celebrating God’s grace across the spectrum of God’s people. Although I regularly lost track of what day it was, I never forgot the Lord’s Day and we made a point to gather with God’s people wherever we were. We gathered in churches of many hundreds and in one that was barely twenty. We worshipped the Lord in beautiful facilities, under a shade awning, by the river at Family Camp and in a rustic bakery that closes on Sundays to host a gathering. The experiences varied widely, but God met us every time and fed us with the Bread of Life to sustain us for another week.
More stories are sure to follow, but lunch is ready so that’ll have to do for now. It’s good to be back and I hope to see you at church soon.