One of the blessings to being a teacher is that we get a few weeks off each summer to recover, renew, and recharge for the coming school year. Some years (like this past one), I need that to be ready for the next school year.
Some summers I have kept working and being involved in a variety of good projects. This summer, I am dialing down quite a bit and taking a mini-sabbatical for two months to develop some projects that need attention and resuscitation. I will also reengage some long-rusty spiritual disciplines to renew my relationship with Jesus Christ and will dig into some books that comprise my towering “need to read” stack.
Last week I wrote a post regarding the unique family group to which Kelly and I (and our kids) belong. The group has been going for 12 years now, though we’ve been a part of it for 10. Five families gather every-other-Friday night for a time of sharing, Bible study, prayer, lots of laughter, and even regular tears (of both joy and sadness). Our three teenage kids feel like they’re cousins to the others in the family group and they’ve grown up together. We’ve endured the up’s and down’s of job loss, job success, sickness, healing, work turmoil, work promotion, divorce, marital enrichment, adoption, and kids leaving for college.
We don’t have the magic formula, though obviously something is going right. I jotted down five commitments that I think a group would have to make to be able to meet regularly for over a decade.
For those of you in the northern parts of the globe, I hope your summer is off to a fantastic start. For those in the southern hemisphere, hang in there. The days are getting longer now and summer is on its way.
We just returned from a week-long vacation to Arizona. Believe it or not, with all of my travels this was the first time for me to see the Grand Canyon in person. It was overwhelming. In spite of all of the pictures and videos you may have seen, they don’t do it justice. It is spectacular to see it in person, almost worshipful at God’s creative abilities. I recommend a trip there, Flagstaff, and then to Sedona as well. If you go to Sedona, get out of town and tour around the amazing red rock formations.
I’ve had a quieter week this week, an opportunity to gain some rest and perspective. After years of graduate school and writing projects, I realized this past weekend that I had not brought any work home, that no project pressed for my attention, and I didn’t need to fire up my laptop to work.
The last few weeks have been a bit harried as we close the books on another semester at the college, the Christmas season approaches, and we dive into the final edits on GLOBAL YOUTH MINISTRY. Oh, add in an academic paper presentation and I feel like I’ve just been keeping plates spinning ’round. A bit like this guy:
I never claimed this site to be a blog, still I hoped for a regular level of content each week. This past month proved that difficult with the flurry of activity around the house and a persistent illness (sinus infection) that made for a month where I felt like I was never really on my game like I wanted to be.
When I work with leaders, I teach an old naval tactic called “sprint/drift.” Navy ships and subs will sprint for periods of time, then drift along listening via sonar for other subs and ships. When drifting, a US Los Angeles or Seawolf class is actually quieter than the ambient noise of the ocean – virtually undetectable to passive sonar. What I tell leaders is that you can sprint along at a fast pace for a while, but you need to have a time to drift, rest, renew, and listen. The three autumn months are always a sprint for me, but I know that a time to drift comes in December. So, I don’t get too stressed – and I still maintain time for family, church, friends, and working out.