I’m not really a spontaneous person…okay...not at all. To some degree, I think I’m simply wired that way. In other ways, if developed the habit of always trying to maximize every minute of every day to be effective and fruitful in my life. This has its benefits. Mom and Dad never had to nag me about my homework or getting places on time. I’m usually fairly organized and am able to spin more than one plate at once. But this also has downsides. I can’t get into a overfunctional mode and stay there until I crash. I can also get too focused on what’s next that I forget about what is.
The Sabbatical was a tremendous opportunity to slow down and learn how to be spontaneous again. Our trip to Costa Rica was awesome and so meaningful and memorable in many ways. But when people have asked about our sabbatical and I have reflected on the highlights, many of the top moments were the spontaneous ones that happened ‘in-between’ our adventures this past summer.
One of my favorites was a day in Corvallis that didn’t have much shape to it. Just a relaxing summer day. At around 2pm my daughter Avery looked and me and said, “Dad, want to go for a bike ride?” My desire is always to say yes to those things, but often, I’m in the middle of something else. Sometimes, even in normal land, I’m able to drop what I’m doing and go be with my kids (thanks mom and dad for modeling that to me) but that thing is always waiting for me when I get back. But during my sabbatical, I was much more free and much more relaxed. So, when Avery asked me to go for a bike ride at 2pm on a weekday I could say yes. We had an awesome time riding around our neighborhood, winding up at our local convenience store getting a snack, then sitting in the gravel and eating our treats, just being quiet and being together.
I’ve heard it said that it’s the space in between the notes that make the music. I’m learning to create space for spontaneity in my life so that I can continue to embrace and say yes to these unexpected gifts waiting us when we slow down long enough to receive them.
We had lots of great moments of spontaneity this summer. Time with family in Sun River. Time to buy chickens and build a chicken coop together. I’m not much of a builder, but we figured it out together. Time to play card games, go on walks, and reflect on the goodness of God and His gifts in our life.
I’m still not wired to be a spontaneous person. But I’m learning to pivot to the unexpected in a healthier way and have a broader view of a day then what I think is most important to get done that day. Kealy is teaching me. My kids are teaching me. Jesus is teaching me to learn the unforced rhythms of His Grace and embrace the gift of spontaneity.