Three months. Ninety days of taking chances. Over three thousand hours without the safety net of ‘the usual.’ Somehow, we survived. And, here we are, arriving back in a place that is both familiar and different…returning to what we know while at the same time knowing all kinds of stuff we didn’t know before.
Did you enjoy your sabbatical? YOUR sabbatical, I mean…the one that offered you a break from the expected and familiar…the one that perhaps called on you to do/be something more…something out of your comfort zone?
During the past three months, we all took some risk. I know; risk is usually associated with the dare devils and thrill seekers, and perhaps we don’t see ourselves in that way. Yet risks are presented to us every day in very ordinary ways. It is risky to step outside the lines. It is risky to sit with or live in the unfamiliar. It takes guts to try new things and put ourselves in vulnerable situations. Every time we make a commitment to something or someone, we are taking a risk. It can require courage just to talk with people we don’t know, especially if they represent something different. Heck, just stepping off the curb can be dangerous!
As Janet Rand has been quoted, “The person who risks nothing…simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love – live.” As I look back on my sabbatical, I realize it required risk. I took some big chances and walked into a few uncomfortable situations. I did things I have never done before. I will soon be publishing a sabbatical report in which I’ll tell you about it. But for now, let me say that while it cost a lot of money, caused some sleeplessness, put a big burden on UFP’s leadership, and created some tensions, it resulted in, for me, gifts and lessons well worth the cost.
I trust that over these three months, you also were blessed with gifts and lessons that would not have come your way if it were not for the ‘risk of sabbatical’ that we took together.
I look forward to hearing your stories of the winter of 2017!
Returning again in love,
~ Rev. Julie