“Twenty years from now you
will be more disappointed
by the things you didn’t
do than by the ones you
did do.” – Mark Twain
We camped for 21 days. It was supposed to be what we would call “our sabbatical”.
After Brian’s retirement from the police force, and our eventual entrance into more ministry opportunities, we knew we needed a long break. Not a break from people or places or things, just a break from the usual. A time to rest after a 32 year career in law enforcement, a time to reconnect and a time to pray about what we’re choosing to say “yes” to during this next season. We chose camping because it would meet both our need to rest and our need to wander.
I was recently listening to a podcast (*) and the interviewer spoke of how important it is to have a planned “re-entrance” when you are away for a long period of time. We don’t often think about this part of being away, and it hit me that it should be one of the most important parts of leaving.
She said that we would be telling a different story if Apollo 11 had not returned home safely from that historic trip to the moon. They had a planned re-entrance to earth. Everything had to work precisely in order for that Lunar Module to return through the earth’s atmosphere. Not only did NASA and the astronauts painstakingly plan out the launch, they also perfectly planned out the re-entry.
Of course, I listened to this AFTER we had already returned from our sabbatical and so we had already made quite a rocky landing back at home ourselves. So, this resonated with me as I was reminded of our re-entrance. We had never planned out how we were to return. We had planned out things like our travel miles, how often we would stop, where we wanted to camp and of course, our final destination. But, never a thought on how we would return.
In fact, I can remember when we decided to make our journey home after three weeks on the road, our minds were mostly focused upon the cleaning up, the shoring up and the calculation of miles before we hit our nice comfy bed at home again. Never did I ever think that re-entering would be a process.
After a few weeks of floundering, we eventually hit our rhythm back at home and set our feet firmly on the new paths that we were going to be walking. Brian, entering into his new part-time side job and myself, writing up a storm to finish a Police Marriage Book before we head to the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) to help other departments as they care for law enforcement families.
Our sabbatical proved to be a beautiful time together, “pinning” all of the new states we traveled into and really just enjoying the slowness of life, even if just for a moment. It is quite a scene when a California girl orders her hubby to stop the car for the “millionth” time just to see one more buffalo up close!
If you arrange a break for yourselves, (or as we called it - “our sabbatical”) make sure you are well-planned regarding the the re-entrance process, too. All things that fall into our schedule could use some front-loading, intentionality and wisdom.
God certainly met us on the road during our 21 day sabbatical, changed our hearts and minds about things that He had already planned to whisper to us. It was so good to get quiet, make some space and meet Him in the beauty of His awe-inspiring creation.
Grace and Peace, Linda
(*) The Next Right Thing Podcast Episode 89 - by Emily P. Freeman