For the past couple of days, Laura and I have been on a short vacation in Arizona. Staying with friends in Sedona and Flagstaff, I am getting a dose of being away from home for a time. A good thing. I am finding with increasing consistency that if I am going to get any real rest, any time away from work and ministry, I have to go away. Being away allows space, time and real rest. I especially like this time in Arizona. With these friends, companions from Laura's time on tour, I get the opportunity to NOT be a priest, to NOT be an authority figure...And to rest.
Still, even in the face of all those opportunities for rest and reflection, I get time to worry: How did forum Sunday go for the Stewardship ministry? Is everyone OK, safe home from the various retreats this past weekend? Any new leaks/breaks/problems with the church? You know, standard stuff.
I console myself with long walks with our friends' dogs. Big, wonderful, warm and fuzzy dogs that love the woods, the mountains and the slim possibility of being able to chase some mule deer or elk into the bush. Today's walk was a double treat of mist and snow on the high peaks, cool breezes hinting at high-country winter down where we were.
A couple of nights ago, I sat on my friends' upper deck at their house in Sedona. The red rocks were just dark humps against a sky exploding with stars I can never see from the light-stained civility of my house in the suburbs. The Milky Way truly was a river of white light arcing over my head. The breeze was warm and smelled faintly of moist desert. A great place to visit.
There have been great human moments, too. Two birthday parties, lots of love and hugs and too much food. BIG southwest-style portions of food to stick to the ribs. Extra hours of sleep.
Home soon, and to work again. We land, celebrate Laura's birthday and our anniversary and then I hit a long weekend: a wedding, baptismal prep and sermon work. Then, stewardship Sunday!
Keep us all in your prayers. Safe home for everyone.