Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sublime Sabbatical

Well, folks, we’re back. After four weeks in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, sitting by a lake and simply enjoying being together, we’re finally back to reality.

(And just to make sure, I took a trek to Target this morning and got a swift kick of reality right in the keister. But I didn’t even glance at the school supplies aisle. That can wait.)

So how do I do it?

How do I condense one happy, relaxing, fulfilling, sunny, joyful, memorable month into a blog post?

I’m not sure I can, but I’m willing to give it a try. Let’s go for one of the good old essay-starter standbys—the dictionary definition.

Sabbatical: "any extended period of leave from one's customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training."

Let’s “unpack” this term, shall we? (And while we’re at it, let’s also agree never to use the term “unpack” again. K?)

Any extended period of leave . . .” One month could be considered extended, dontcha think? Especially since I’ve never spent a month away from home with my family, ever. Other than the summer I spent at Oxford as a college student, I’ve never spent a month anywhere.

. . . from one’s customary work . . .” My husband, I think I may have mentioned, is a business man which makes the sabbatical concept even more unheard of. You should have seen the looks we got when we told people we were going on sabbatical. “Really? But he’s not a pastor,” was usually the response we would get, along with the quizzical looks and head scratching that goes along with the utter confusion on their faces.

Nope, my husband is not a pastor or a missionary or anything having to do with that line of work. He’s just a guy who works hard at his job (for a great company which he is never allowed to leave, I might add) and sometimes spends long hours at the office. He also works hard at some of his volunteer responsibilities at our church and for a mission organization. Let’s just say that this guy gives a lot of himself to others, so to spend some extended time doing things quite unlike his usual, is, in itself, a gift.

. . . especially for rest . . .” Ahhhhh, rest. Now that’s what a sabbatical should be about. And rest we did. We did everything we wanted to do—spent time with our parents, our kids, and good friends—but mostly we just rested. I can hardly wait to hear the reactions of the people at work on Monday when they see B. He looks like an entirely different person—tanned, long-haired (although that will come to an end before Monday), and completely and utterly relaxed.

. . . to acquire new skills or training. . . .” Would fishing be considered a new skill? How about driving a boat? Or tanning on a dock? Because that’s pretty much all my husband learned how to do. (O.K., to be fair and because I know he’ll call me on it, he already knew how to fish.) The main thing I think he learned, though, was how to relax. How to really and truly pull himself mentally out of the game and to fully invest himself in just doing nothing.

So we’re home now. It may take some time to process what this all meant to us, but maybe it could best be described in terms of an experience I had earlier this week. We had a perfect, and I do mean PERFECT, day on Wednesday. Some friends had come to visit us for a couple of days and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We had rented a pontoon boat for the day, so we spent several hours on the water, enjoying the scenery, watching the eagles float overhead, fishing a little. As the day was coming to a close and we skimmed across the water toward home, I found myself getting completely choked up. Thankfully I was sitting in the back of the boat so nobody could see me, but I couldn’t help crying just a little. Here I was with people I loved, doing something I love to do, on a perfectly beautiful day. God’s goodness to me was overwhelming; I just couldn’t take it all in. The gift I had been given was impressed upon my heart, my mind, my soul, and I knew I would never forget it. I probably looked like an idiot, but through a few tears, the only way I could express my gratitude was to look up at the perfectly cloudless blue sky . . . and smile.

Overwhelmed? I am. Blessed? Oh yes. Smiling from head to toe? Definitely.

I have so much more to tell you and lots of photos to share, but I’ll get to that next week. It’s so hard to know where to start and how to “unpack” it all (kind of like all the dirty laundry in my suitcase—ugh). Maybe it would be easier if you asked me some questions and I’ll answer them. Just leave a comment or a question you might have about our time away, and I’ll try to get to them next week.

Until then, I think I'll go take a nap.

This post is linked with Richella's "Grace Imparted" party. You can read more stories of blessings over there.



  1. Oh, Shelly. I am so glad. So very, very glad for you.

    Here's my question: where did you live for the month? In a cabin on that gorgeous lake? In a lodge? In a cottage? In a tent (I think probably not)?

    And another question: what was the weather like where you were? It's been hot as blue blazes here; I'm hoping you were in more temperate climes

    Whatever the weather was like there, you'll have some re-acclimating to do, I'm sure. But I am SO glad you got to do this! :)

  2. Here's a few question, friend:

    Did you read anything fun?

    Learn anything new about your husband?

    Did you sleep in or watch the sun rise over the lake?

    Did you cook simple meals or more complicated ones?

    Did you miss me?

    (I could go on and on . . . )

    Welcome home. Praying for a smooth transition to your busy fall.


  3. Morning Shelley,
    Nice to meet you here in blogland, a fellow sojourner in this walk of life. When you were talking about being so overwhelmed by that perfect day, I can relate, cause it does happen every so often, and I feel like it is just the Lord giving us a lil foretaste of heaven. We had a vacation at the beach like that for a week a few years back, just me and hubby, it was truly wonderful and I was overwhelmed by God's goodness to us as well.
    So happy for you that you had this sabbatical in your life, sometimes I think the Lord want to teach us at times just to be, and like Joyce Meyers says we are human beings not human doings, and I think many times we get that
    So... good for you and yours that you had this lovely time just being.
    Blessings to you as you re enter
    the earths atmosphere!! lol

  4. I'm so glad that you had a great time.

    Can't wait to read about what you have gleaned from the experience.

  5. I am a little jealous of your sabbatical, but also very happy for you! What a wonderful time to relax and reconnect with yourself and your family! I can't wait to hear more!