Since returning from my sabbatical, I have written a few articles summarizing my experience. I have called my time away Nurse, Drive, Swim (like the book Eat, Pray, Love) and this last installment is the final chapter of my sabbatical: Swim.
There is a small island in the French West Indies called St. Barthelemy. JD and I discovered this island when I was in seminary at Yale and a friend’s boss let us stay in his villa. We both fell in love with the exotic beauty of the island and its French-speaking people. A few years ago, I was attending the small church on the island and noticed that they had no priest. I explained who I was and, after visiting our website here at the cathedral, they invited me to fly down and officiate their one Sunday service for a time during the summer. There is a tiny house next to the church where my family and I can live while I’m officiating at the church. I wake up early in the morning and open the doors of the church so that tourists can enter, and I close the doors at night. There is a small meditation group and a few small activities, but for the most part, life is very quiet for us on the island.
We spent most of our time at St. Barts swimming, hours every day. I would snorkel and watch the beauty of the world that exists under the sea. JD would gently move about in the water and turn his now healing neck. The boys rode the waves, made sandcastles, joked and played. I found the presence of the immense ocean to be incredibly healing. My mind would drift away, absorbed in its beauty. I felt truly at peace and so joyful. It was at this time that I put the finishing touches on my book.
I return to you grateful for this sabbatical. I am rested, yes, but not only that. I was able to spend significant time with my family and, for the first time in my life, I had the time to write a substantive chapter book. I am truly grateful to all of you who made this time possible for me. I do believe that it will enrich our lives together.
And when things get stressful, I have only to close my eyes and picture swimming in that vast and glorious ocean, feeling the love of God all around me.
With love in Christ,