A Sabbatical Story: Final Reflections

As I stated in the beginning, I have never done this before and am not likely to do it again, so this sabbatical has been a one time shot for me. I have not been disappointed. I managed to pack into these past two months all kinds of experiences, road trips across the country and flights overseas. I enjoyed some extended time alone and a good bit of time away with Suzanne. I managed to see most of my enormous family, good times with Mom and all my siblings and aunts and uncles, and caught up with our son in Italy. It was also my pleasure to reconnect with many special friends who have blessed and enriched my life through the years.

I did the math. Since July 1, I have driven my Honda Pilot 6200 miles, covered twelve states, and slept in twenty-two beds. I enjoyed a diet of barbeque and baseball for much of the time, before heading to Italy and perfecting my high carb pasta, pizza, and gelato diet. I was also treated to Neal's smoked pork loin, Janet's meatloaf, Norma's peach cobbler, and Aunt Sue's chocolate chip cookies, so I didn't lack for home cooking. Now it's back to work and back to the gym for me.

Along the way and for most of these nine weeks I've been exploring the relationship between religion and race. Making an extensive pilgrimage of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail was a life-changing experiencing. What I thought I knew in my head, I now see in my mind and feel in my bones. What a lesson in the way Christian people apply the Gospel or fail to apply it to our most basic connection, our common humanity, created in the image of God. The journey left me inspired and depressed, lifted up and cast down, optimistic and at the same time discouraged. To see the liberating power of the Gospel alongside the twisted distortions of the Christian faith, who would guess that the line between such love and hatred would run through our churches? But it did, and it does.

I am well begun on my writing project using two weeks for an extended retreat. I shared my plans for this book in my previous sabbatical update. I am excited about this story and will be working on it in my spare time for the next year, hoping to have a first draft completed by spring.

So here I am, back home after these nine weeks and looking forward to Sunday, to be with my people, to see if I remember how to preach, to jump back into a calling that has been mine for over forty years. Can't wait.

I will be sharing much more about what I have gleaned from this sabbatical in the weeks ahead, both at church and with occasional posts. But for now, this is the end of my journey. Thanks for coming along.


LisaatLeisure said…
Drew, you have indeed made the most of this opportunity. I’m so happy for you and Suzanne, and I can hardly wait for your publication date!

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