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Pastor Ryan's Sabbatical: The Gift of Time

“How was your 3 month vacation?”

I’ve gotten that question quite a bit. While many sabbaticals are quite different than 3 month vacations, requiring research and sometimes even writing, the leadership of our church granted me the themes of "rest and renewal" for my sabbatical. Rather than having to produce something at the end of the sabbatical season, the purpose was to rest and be present with Jesus, with Kealy and with the kids. So, honestly, in many ways, it was an AWESOME 3 month vacation!

I’ve always struggled with Time. I have never felt like there was enough Time in the day to do or accomplish all that needs doing. I have struggled with interruptions to my expectations or distorted views of what’s most important to get done and pre-sabbatical Ryan had grown very weary of always trying to maximize time and triage the to-do list, never feeling like it was ever done. Even with a day of Sabbath Rest each week, the other 6 days I generally moved at an unhealthy pace, always racing against time.

This sabbatical gave me the gift of seeing Time in a new way. It gave me the Gift of Time.

One of the books I reflectively read during the sabbatical is called, “Three Mile an Hour God” by Kosuke Koyama. These short reflections from a Japanese believer and pastor in the 20th century were extremely insightful and provided some non-western ways of looking at faith and life. In one of his chapters, he writes this about time:

“time humiliates me. It limits me. I cannot push it. Time pushes me. I say innocently that 'time flows'. Actually it may be I that am flowing. If, then, I flow, I hope to flow with time and in time. I cannot push time around."

I am quite sure no one who knows me would describe me as a 'go with the flow person'. But during my sabbatical, I began to learn how to not push against time or regret time passing but, instead, to see Time as a Gift.

picture below: celebrating Kealy's birthday with coconuts in Cahuita, Costa Rica

I wrote this on August 6 in my sabbatical journal:

"Time to be with Jesus. Time to ride bikes with Avery. Time to read poetry with Annabelle. Time to play with Skyler. Time to play nerf guns with Levi. Time to laugh with Kealy. Time to read. Time to rest. Time. This Sabbatical has given me the gift of time. Time has slowed down in a good way."

I'm still learning how to see time as a gift now that its flowing faster than it did this summer. But God has remained faithful and I remember that, if I want to walk with God, I must move at walking pace.

picture below: bike ride in the rain in Cahuita, Costa Rica

Stay tuned for reflections on the next gift in a few days.


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