The photo here captures the quiet bliss of creation and recreation on a New England pond. It was not taken in Watertown. I’ve not been in Watertown for a while.
I’ve just returned from a three-month sabbatical. When I left for sabbatical, I felt like a balloon that had been overfilled: no room for anything more to get in, emotionally, logistically, spiritually. Sabbatical was not so much about adding fun experiences to my life as it was about exhaling enough that I could recover my spirit and make room for what is beautiful, good, and necessary now.
I am very aware that sabbaticals are a luxury. Few people have jobs that allow them such a gracious season of renewal. Nonetheless, my hope for you is that this summer you find (or create) enough margin to “deflate” your overfilled balloon. Step away from your gmail. Put down your phone. Walk through a park you’ve never visited. Send a letter to an old friend. Engage in that “holy waste of time” that is prayer.
My guess is that no one will tell you to do these things. You’ll have to intentionally carve out time and space for them.
For encouragement, I leave you with this “prayer for leisure” from the Book of Common Prayer, which guided me in my sabbatical:
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.