We are now home from a month in B.C. It seems like a good time to reflect on this process of Sabbatical. It is an amazing time gift. We have had a chance to be in beautiful places, to be together as a family, to study and be alone with God. In the midst of this I have begun to marvel at the process that unfolds when there is simply space.
What is the most noticeable change is how the dynamics of my relationship within our family have changed. We have begun to have space for each other. This may sound like a strange thing to say, but it is amazing how in the midst of the To Do list of life that actually giving each other a space to be who each other is, has become something that has gotten lost. Once there is space, along with attention, gently love begins to flow again. Conversations deepen. With space there seems to unfold a natural process of growth. This is as true with us parents as it is with our children. I wonder how hampered we are now in our regular lives.
My own internal process has been interesting to watch as well. The first part of my sabbatical was about trying to rest and reestablish some healthy patterns in my life. When we first headed off a deeper sense of just relaxing and enjoying life began to grow. Then something began to shift. Bit by bit, all of my old struggles and issues began to emerge again. Where ever you go, there you are, is a very true adage, at least in part. When there is space, instead of just reacting and repeating old patterns, something else can happen. You can actually notice what is going on; lift it up; and talk about it. Then you can even begin to experiment with new patterns.
In this God plays an interesting role. I could almost see how God was at work. Poking me here, having me run into a conversation there, a word from a book striking me when I needed it. There seems to be a slow process of how God is reworking me. In the midst of it there seems to be another invitation to come to know God, by creating a space for God to be as God is. It is amazing how much we impose our own images upon God. What happens though when we simply sit, surrounded by what God has made and open our selves to have who God is revealed to us. It is an unsettling blessing to begin to know God beyond our projections.
In the midst of all of this we have discovered just how healing just being out in wild nature is. How we love small communities where you run into people and can bike or walk where you need to go. We have discovered again the joy of play and the freedom of turning off our screens. Above all there is this gift in simple silence. When the noise is turned off, when the to do’s are left undone, when our ears simply here what is and our hearts are left open. Then life begins to flow.