This morning marks the first full day of my one month sabbatical. The marine layer is very thick down here at the beach and I’m finding it a fitting scene for the beginning of this time. If I were to sit here the entire day I would witness a gradual clearing of the skies. Right now I cannot even see the water from my big comfy chair by the window. Soon though the water will appear, and then I’ll begin to catch a glimpse of the ferries. Eventually I’ll see clearly the sun shining from the snow capped peaks across the water, the city skyline, and everything else a sunny day in Seattle promises to reveal. The reason I’m on a sabbatical in the first place is that in just about every part of my being, I’m sitting in the marine layer (aka fog).
The most frequently asked question from those who have heard of my status these next 4 weeks is “what is a sabbatical?”. Dictionary dot com identifies as “any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.” I try to simplify it even more by saying it’s a sort of working vacation. I am at the point that a vacation in its purest sense could be disastrous to me. The traditional sort of vacation (that there’s a recreational vehicle Clark) is meant to clear out one’s mind from all of the accumulated trash of the previous 11 months. There are two good reasons why this would not be a good thing. First of all, you usually need a vacation to recover from the vacation. A good vacation can wear you out physically and you need an energy boost just to recover. Secondly, an empty brain at the end of this time isn’t going to help anyone. The problem is that I am empty in the first place. A good part of the objective is to be filled once again for the long haul and to build into my life refilling stations and boundaries so that I do not get to this point again.
So I’ll be here for the next few weeks, to be a writer, to be a reader and sometimes to just be. I am incredibly grateful for the leadership of my community o’ faith who have allowed and encouraged this time away. I am eternally grateful to my gorgeous wife who has supported me in this journey. As I sit here in the morning clouds, I look forward to the rest of the day and what the afternoon sun might reveal.