Well, I am counting down the weeks LEFT in my sabbatical now. Not altogether with trepidation, because I am actually feeling energized and ready to get back to work. I love almost everything about what I do and the people I do it with, especially the women who are my staff team. Sometimes I just marvel at how our church and I could be so blessed to have such a group of intelligent, compassionate, and courageous women serving us. They are beyond compare.
Replace Terese with Kate! We need a new Staff photo...
It's a bit like getting to what you think might be the halfway point in life, passing the middle of one's sabbatical. I make a bucket list: what had I hoped to accomplish that I haven't yet done? My goals were a bit ambitious. I will not be going to Haiti, not now, but I have made several solid contacts for a future trip. I didn't work on Mountain Top Removal, as I had hoped to. Part way into the time, I realized that the sabbatical needed to be a little more inwardly focused, so I put the service and advocacy dreams on the back burner.
There will always be social justice work to do...
I did renew my primary spiritual practice, which is Buddhist meditation, and, most importantly, found a potential sangha with which to share this important part of my life... there are days when I think that if that were all I had accomplished, it would be enough! I feel very blessed to have found a great teacher and a place to learn and practice not far from home.
This is actually Ireland, not Kentucky.
What happens with a regular meditation practice differs with each individual, of course, but I think it is safe to say that with regular and diligent practice, destructive habit energy is minimized and positive ways of approaching life and its challenges gradually emerge. For me, that means I become less perfectionist and more accepting of imperfection (aka being human), my own as well as others'. I find that I am more tolerant, patient, and content. I notice that many times my thoughts of discouragement, worry, anxiety, or fear can be easily transformed into gratitude and even delight.
Eric, Cyn, Marjorie, Colin & Seth at Mar's HS graduation.
For example, it's not easy living in a small modular home this muddy and rainy winter with FIVE people (during the month Marjorie was home) and two indoor animals. But I have so much to be grateful for. My children love each other unconditionally.
Seth & Marjorie
Seth has so many people who adore and care for him. His life, which may very well have turned out quite differently, is full of people, extended family and caregivers and teachers who cherish him for who he is. I can't say enough about the school he attends, North Washington County Elementary! (If you click here, http://www.washington.kyschools.us/nwes/default.htm, you will see his Principal kissing a pig which is held by the Asst. Principal.) I couldn't have asked for a group of people who are more nurturing, patient, and giving. I feel that my life has come full circle, and my youngest child will be blessed with the same small town, K-8 country school atmosphere that I grew up in. Beyond compare!
Some of the UUCL Worship Associates!
I am also grateful for the amazing Worship Team and all of the Board and Leadership at UUCL who have carried on with such incredible efficiency and perseverance so that I can enjoy this respite. Toni O' Neil! .. and everyone who is working hard to keep the momentum going.
I regularly thank the universe for my good husband, who is really enamored with our Seth, and puts a huge amount of energy into his care, for my daughter Marjorie, who is out there taking life by the horns with courage and grit, and, I must admit most of all, for my sons, who have given me the greatest gift I could ever receive, and one I had almost given up on, their sobriety. I know we are all blessed far beyond anything we deserve. Who needs perfection? Life is very, very good.
Casey with his friends, the incomparable Jennifer & Joan, and the birdhouse he made them for Xmas.
See you all soon!