Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am. A reluctant enthusiast and a part-time crusader. A half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the West. It is even more important to enjoy it, while you can, while it’s still there.
–– Naturalist Edward Abbey, quoted as an important life motto by restorative justice pioneer Howard Zehr in Summer 2007 edition of Peacebuilder
Ever since encountering these lines almost a decade and a half ago there’s been a remote region of my brain mulling them over. Passion and detachment. Work and pleasure. Commitment and rest. Sacrifice and enjoyment. How do these relate and hold together within a life? With a Sabbatical a few days away I guess the region of my brain pondering this is less remote.
On Sunday during the 11 o’clock hour I had a chance to present on a six week project I’ll be doing within the 13 week Sabbatical. It is titled “Marking time, becoming human: Creating a congregation-based multi-generational adult rite of passage.” I’ll get to do some study and creation during this time that I have not been able to do during the normal flow of ministry.
But the other half of the Sabbatical will not be church-project-driven. “Save the other half of yourselves for pleasure and adventure.”
A Sabbatical is not exactly a Sabbath, but it does share that same Hebrew word meaning “rest.” As the pinnacle of creation, the seventh day, Sabbath represents God’s culminating idea. The rabbis teach that the Sabbath is an end in itself, enjoyment for enjoyment’s sake. “It is not enough to fight for the (world). It is even more important to enjoy it, while you can, while it’s still there.” And while we’re still here!
Thank you for this gift of Sabbatical. Although not many professions have a built in time to do this, it is my hope that you find a rhythm of Sabbath and Sabbatical keeping of your own as you develop your personal version of being a reluctant enthusiast and half-hearted fanatic.