If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve quite exceeded my word quota. So be it.
Reading, relaxing, renewing, reconnecting are among those “re’s” that this sabbatical is making possible. As for reading, I have a companion, a muse you might call him. Pablo at his most tranquil curls up beside me, head sometimes in my lap, but not so much that I can’t turn the pages of this particularly sizable tome, Geoffrey C. Ward’s and Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War, a good ten pounds and a scholarly emotive opus that speaks to heart and mind. I read a chapter, then view with husband Dan the corresponding episode in the Ken Burn’s and Lyn Novick’s ten-part video series. This is personal affirmation of those words of trauma therapist and co-leader of my autumn pilgrimage to Vietnam: “Wars do not end when we say they are over.”
On another note, what could be more relaxing than a swing in a park? Specifically, a swing in the playground of granddaughter Sophie’s school in Glen Ridge with my ever lovin’ spouse? This past weekend Dan and I headed south to New Jersey to see daughter Lisa and husband Rob and Ollie (10) and Sophie (6) but also to reconnect with my home church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, for a series of celebrations. Revs. Any and Scott Sammler-Michael were installed as co-ministers! A concert that rocked the rafters the evening before, followed by dinner with longtime friends, was prologue to Installation Day, this past Sunday. Here are Revs. Any and Scott along with UUCM’s (yes, Montclair and Meriden UU congregations have the same acronym) Minister Emeritus Rev. Charlie Blustein Ortman, along with friend and colleague Rev. John Crestwell. Such were reconnection and renewal in this sacred space in which so much of my UU history was formed!
Reconnection continues with family. Daughter Sarah and grandson Forrest (almost 8) arrived for a visit with “GramJan and PopPop” this Tuesday. Off to “Isle of Dogs”, a movie for children of all ages, we went. As for yesterday, Sarah and Forrest and I reveled in exploring the highly interactive Connecticut Science Center in Hartford. It’s always hard to see them go home, but home in Vermont they now are.
Retreat is yet another of the re’s, more challenging for me given an energy level that can sometimes be oppressive. How to channel my energy? Swimming laps at the Y, working up a sweat on the elliptical, walking “into town” for breakfast with Dan, whose choice is to drive, an occasional lunch with friends. All mark a retreat from “ministry as usual”.
Reading, relaxing, renewing, reconnecting, retreating are what I am about as my sabbatical continues and evolves. I cannot, however, fully retreat from you, congregants of the UU Church in Meriden. You’re in my thoughts, my affections, my hopes, and my trust that you are forging onward in the spirit of shared ministry, the ministry of sanctuary, and all the dimensions of congregational life that allow me to sing your praises and bid you, once again, thank you for this gift of sabbatical, a gift received with the outcomes given back in a minister ever more vital upon my return.
Stay tuned for more!