Friday, April 8, 2011

Sabbatical Preparations

One of the reasons why I have not been blogging lately is that we are one month away from Matt's sabbatical beginning.
That might sound like it is nothing much to prepare for. After all, it's just time off!
But when you step away from it, you begin to realize that you don't really want to spend your whole time 1) working on your house. 2) getting organized to figure out what you want to do or 3) end up doing nothing.

As Henri Nouwen says "Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: 'May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.' But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death."

we are trying to steer away spiritual death of more busyness but it is really intimidating to step away from life. To turn off your cell phone. To be "unavailable" to others. This is going to be a season of familial solitude for Matt. And as Nouwen says solitude is a "furnace for your soul".

I want Matt to have the kind of environment where he is free to explore the things that he always thought he "might" love but has never had the time to find out. Which is also intimidating.

Why is solitude so intimidating?
Nouwen:
"As soon as we are alone,...inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediatel;y shut ou all our iner doubts, anxieities, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important."


If you really think about a person who trades in relationships, placing them on hold for a period of three months-it is really difficult. Please pray for us. It is going to be hard on Matt. It is going to be hard on me. But I know there is going to be tremendous growth from going through the deep, difficult discipline of leaving relevancy in others eyes behind for period.

Another Nouwen quote: "As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their 'right' place."

We have to do this, there is no "doing it right" but I want there to be fruit in our marriage and family and in the ministry of Young Life to come from this time. So we are trying to ensure that we setting ourselves up in the best manner that we possibly can.

I will be blogging along the way, so don't lose hope! Just be patient with me :)

3 comments:

Cameron and Megan said...

praying for your time away, and that is a sweet time of growth

Anonymous said...

"If solitude means quietly eating ice cream when no one is looking, I must be a desert father." -Jimmy

Candice said...

Leslie,

Is this a book? Do tell....I'm loving the quotes.

BTW, I think this sounds amazing!

Have fun!!