Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Surfbatical so far

As of today, I've been on sabbatical just over a week and while I'm writing a little, I haven't actually said much about what the days are like.

Memorial Day weekend was pretty much All E's Birthday All the Time.  Took a few of his pals to a glorified arcade, made some cupcakes for LOTR play practice (evidently, the mom on sabbatical makes Eye of Sauron cupcakes instead of writing a sermon on Saturday morning ),
Don't get used to the decorated cupcake thing, ok?  
and had our god-family over on Sunday.  There was also a sleepover in there somewhere.  

Last week, I took J to work.  In Seattle.  Which involved a long drive, a little helping of Jeff, a long nap, a little shopping and then another long drive.  

I'm also writing a little every day, doing some of that kind of  reservation-making you gotta do when you're getting ready to travel, watching Fringe and Doctor Who, and taking more naps.   I've done a little shopping, helped a frustrated child write a paper, cooked some meals, cleaned a bathroom, started a book and finished one, and spent an enjoyable hour on the phone with an old friend.

I've been exercising every day.  And on Sunday, I went to a neighborhood church and heard a terrific sermon, sang some familiar hymns and some new ones and received communion.  All of which reminded me how much I like just going to church sometimes.

Truthfully - except for the cupcake decorating  -  this isn't all that different than a regular week for me, except usually I work whole other job on top of this.  And yet, the days seem to be pretty full.  I can't quite figure it out, and last night it started to stress me out.  What my old spiritual director used to call the Committee weighed in unhelpfully:   I mean, what I am DOING with myself all day?  I've been on sabbatical A WHOLE WEEK already.  Shouldn't I have something to SHOW for it by now?  Shouldn't I feel more, you know, SPIRITUAL?

So in an unsettled mood I went to a bikram yoga class this morning.  The classes are ninety minutes long and the room is HOT.  If you are a person who might spend just a little too much time running hamster trails in your mind, it's a good way to remember that you have (that you are?) a body as well as a brain.  After  a lot (and I mean A LOT) of sweat, the Committee had slunk back around the corner.

OK.  So, I've been trying to write a pithy little ending to this post -  a little lesson perhaps on What I Have Learned On Sabbatical So Far.   I keep starting paragraphs and deleting them, so I guess there isn't one.  I don't have the lesson learned yet, because being on Sabbatical hasn't made me automatically more spiritual, less anxious, more present.  On Sabbatical, and all the time,  I'm just a work in progress.   And Sabbatical and all the time,  maybe that's lesson enough.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Favorite Movie

Last night we watched one of E's favorite movies, Arthur Christmas, which we take out occasionally no matter the season.  It has a sweet (but not treacly) story and some good performances and that particular kind of British humor that makes us both laugh, so it holds up whatever time of year it happens to be.

If you ask me what my favorite movie is, I always say Singin In the Rain although years go by in between viewings.  It's partly because there's nothing more funny than Make Em Laugh. Unless it's a pie in the face, and Singin In the Rain has that too!  It's partly because I heard that Gene Kelly had pneumonia and a fever of - what was it?  102? - when he shot the iconic dance scene.  And I heard too that Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Conner grin at each other at the end of Good Morning because they had done it so many times that their toes were actually! bleeding!  and they knew they finally nailed it.   But mostly it's my favorite movie because of the first time I saw it, at Rebecca Katz's house one afternoon after school.

It was the day early into seventh grade when mean girls in choir put the sticky side of a menstrual pad (unused, thank God for small mercies) on my back.  I don't remember anything else about what followed (thank God again for the small mercy of selective memory) except for this.  It was Rebecca who brought me lunch where I was crying alone in the counselor's office.  What I most remember from that day is her tiny, fierce, compassionate face and her words: "Can you come home with me after school?  I have a movie I think you should watch."  I only realized later what a very big deal it was that she skipped ballet to extend that invitation.

Do you have a favorite movie?  Would love to hear about it if so.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Doing One Thing at a Time

My dreams are keeping me busy.  Last night, for example, I dreamed that someone broke a glass mirror all over the floor at church and I had to go over and clean up in the middle of some big event that was happening there.  And then, I panicked, "It's Thursday already and I have no idea for my sermon!" When I woke up, it took a few minutes to remember not where, but when I was.  "It's ok, you are on sabbatical. You don't have a sermon to write."

During the day, though, it's a different story. During the day, I'm surprised how at ease I feel, how present to the moment.  Whatever I am doing, I just do it, without making in my head the lists of all the other things I should be doing as soon as I'm done with this part.  It's nice to be on time to things (like the yoga class I'm headed to in a few minutes) instead of trying to squeeze one more errand in before everything.  It makes me realize that most of the time I am not just doing what I'm doing, but also all the things I COULD be doing, too.

It feels good, and already I'm wondering if this is something I can hang on to once sabbatical is over.
Which I guess is sort of its own way of not being present to the moment, huh?

Even with a more relaxed schedule, I am still the same person inside.  I still, for instance, have 3 or 4 books going at the same time, still read a few pages of one, put it down and then pick up another.  Still wonder at breakfast what will be for lunch.  Still write these words while wondering what I should wear to yoga today.

Here's to being a work in progress.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Yesterday was a hello/goodbye day (goodbye to Brownells for the summer and hello to interim pastor Pat Ross) at Hillsdale church, and there were many beautiful moments.  But I think my favorite was the choir singing "I'm gonna sing when the spirit says sing," with an extra verse they put in, as director Tim explained, just for me, because they know it's going to be a challenge during this sabbatical.  "I'm gonna rest when the spirit says rest."

Those who are worried I might have a hard time resting  (and it's true, rest does NOT come naturally!) will be glad to know that after all that good food and company,  I went to a food cart downtown and ate  some more - a ridiculous waffle (topped with banana, caramel, peanut butter and candied pecans) and then came home and took a nap in the sun.

Here's the song, btw, in case you don't know it.  It is missing the all important "rest" verse, but you get the idea.