Tomorrow is my last obligation until September.* How crazy is this? July and August stretch out ahead of me with only possibility to fill them (and a vacation…oh, how ready I am to feel sand between my toes again). I’m trying to decide how I will handle such a windfall of days. This is too miraculous a gift to squander, not when there are so many things I want to play, try and do. Shelves of books await. Empty drawing pads beckon. Words sit on the tips of my fingers waiting to emerge from the keyboard. Miles wait for me to run. Sabbath awaits for certain, but I think it will be a creative sabbath as opposed to one strictly devoted to rest.
I never realized how much of myself I poured into education until my young ladies enrolled in college. The last school year was a big wad of transition for all of us. Them to having someone besides their Mom as teacher, and me to being merely a support system. Most days my biggest responsibility towards education is a pep talk.
It took much longer than I imagined to decompress from that. I spent quite a few hours simply sitting, resting, not planning or really doing much of anything except the basic necessities a household requires. I don’t regret that time. That Sabbath was well-earned and well spent.
Then December and January rolled around, uncovering some old scars and creating some new wounds that required attention. I will take any person to the mat who says spiritual/ emotional work takes place only in the head and heart. Real, deep work in the depths of ourselves is a whole body endeavor. Some days, I dropped into bed completely exhausted. I tackled emotions the way surfers ride high seas, and my body told the story. Each day felt like a minefield of triggers. The only thing to do was eat well, sleep enough, and make sure I had soft places to land.
I’m still doing this work, but it’s less critical now. There’s room for other things, and now that I’ve restored some faith in myself, my creativity is beginning to peek out again. I plan and plot and purge everyday, so much so that I have room now to refill (figuratively only, I am not refilling my house with stuff I don’t need). I might even take naps!
What I do know about myself is that I have to make a loose plan for my weeks and days. I have Olympic level frittering powers. You may recall my last birthday where I spent roughly eight hours in a hammock. While rest and restoration will be part of this gift of time, it won’t be the primary focus. Productivity will also not play a major roll. I may gold medal in frittering, but I silver in busy work. It looks good but it doesn’t really provide any personal growth. I want to use this time to grow. This Sabbath is about creativity, learning to play, learning to fail and not label myself a failure.
What I would love is to look back on these months and say, these days changed everything. But those are some high expectations so what I truly want is to look back and say, I’ve changed for the better. I’m happier, healthier, more open and loving. If I have something to show for it, wonderful, but if the only changes are those that take place within my heart and soul, even better.
When is the last time you took time for yourself? What’s stopping you?
*Obviously, I still have obligations. I have a husband and dogs and a family. What I don’t have for the nest two months are outside obligations, ministry responsibilities, appointments or projects.
**I called June my Month-of-No. This creative Sabbath has evolved from that idea.