I suppose many people could observe me for a while and make a few prescriptions. "Don't do so many things" - easy advice from an outsider who doesn't share my array of interests. "Slow down" - an odd suggestion from anybody who never observes the widely varied pacing of my days. "Take care of yourself" - the quintessential Baby Boomer expression of self-indulgence; truth is, many of my age bracket are actually addicted to themselves and their own whims.
No, something deeper is needed: the Spirit's Music is what I call it. Something like the blending of melody, harmony, and rhythm in all the dimensions of my life. This was the governing theme of the sabbatical proposal that I submitted to the Lilly Endowment. For me, a sabbatical can be refreshing in four ways.
- Relationships have a tonality and syncopation about them. A sabbatical is a season to tune up our connections to the people who are significant to us.
- Silence is never quiet. Solitude is the occasion for deep conversing with the Composer of our lives. This promises insight, comfort, and vocational clarity.
- Nature sings, and mostly we speed along the paved highways too quickly to pick up creation's tune. It is time to get out of the car and walk, hike, and admire our beautiful planet.
- The performing stage is where musicians impart their insight and wisdom. Since my job involves "working weekends," there are few occasions to hear the masters of music-making.
So this suggests my plan. The sabbatical will begin after church on Father's Day, June 16, and run through the 15th of September. These ninety days will focus on these four recurring situations where the Spirit can make some life-giving music.