Urge for going...

Since our trip to Istanbul, I've been wiped-out!  And I mean REALLY wiped out - physically tired and mentally worn down - in ways I hadn't expected. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret the trip in any way - it was the experience of a life time to be playing jazz for peace with my mates - and we lived 2 or 3 days every 24 hours we were there.  But damn... it has taken a toll and I am looking forward to my time away with Dianne profoundly.

Yesterday, for example, I was rattled to discover that earlier this month I had written down the wrong date on an important legal document.  It wasn't the end of the world, of course, and I later made the corrections, but clearly I hadn't paying attention and my weariness took its toll. Simple but stupid mistakes that inconvenience others happen from time to time, right? But this one has caused me to rstep back and eflect more seriously about the cumulative effect a number of wounds have taken within me this summer.

+ It began when both my sister and father were hospitalized at the same time; she continues to be very ill and bed-ridden while his health has stabilized and returned.  Her situation is so tragic on so many levels it breaks my heart as there are no good options left for her.

+ Then a marriage within the family came to an end and we began the work of grieving and rebuilding with love and respect.

+ Later a dear mentor and his wife moved from our church to take up residence closer to their family in Florida - and this left a little hole in my heart.

+ A long-time friend and colleague went into a professional tail spin and pushed away those who care while another colleague's husband was arrested on charges too dark to describe. Each of these felt like a body slam.

What's more, since Istanbul I've been working hard to hire two new key staff at church before the program year begins.  I guess what my mistake said to me is, "Take a break, man! You can't keep running on empty - so pay attention!"  Don't misunderstand, there have been sweet blessings this summer, too - Brian and Robyn's wedding, the music and growth at church, the return of Eva from Las Vegas and more - but it is true that to everything there is a season.  And that season sounds a lot like rest for me...

Vacations with Dianne are more like retreats:  we go away to places where no one knows us and just walk and rest and read and find interesting music to heal our souls.  No agenda but wandering.  One of her friends asked, "Didn't you just go away out of the country?" to which she replied, "Yes, and it was great, but it wasn't a vacation.  It was a working 10 gig!" And for two introverts...

Strange as it might seem, getting ready for this time away made me think of this prayer:

O God, you have made heaven and earth and all that is good; and in Jesus Christ you show us that the secret of joy is a heart set free from selfish desires. Help us to delight in simple things and to rejoice always in the richness of your bounty; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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