It’s been a while since I’ve written anything particularly personal here, including any updates on the “temporary vocational stretch” that I’ve had the opportunity to have over the last 18 months. The stretch continues, of course. I still assert that it’s temporary, even though it may have some effect on how I do my basic work going forward.
The time has continued to be one of destabilization for me. Moving through time has been wonky for me, particularly in how packed it can be on certain days and in certain weeks. A couple of months ago I tried some course-correcting on that, trying to bring back in some habits and practices that had fallen to the wayside because of the mental exhaustion. That adjustment has been really good for me. One side effect of all of this, though, has been my commitment to getting good things posted to this site. I hope to remedy that some over the next few weeks, even though the next two months are going to be its own brand of crazy-busy.
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Rest is an odd thing. I think about it often, partly because it was a big part of the Laity Lodge retreat that I attended this past summer. Sometimes I’ll take out those notes (or revisit a thorough transcript one of my Laity friends put together) and remember not just the sensation of being at such a great place but also being with such great people. Rest, it turns out that Oliver O’Donovan was right, isn’t just a cessation of work. It also has something to do with the presence of others. Christmas break was good for me like that, as I was able to spend a larger-than-normal chunk of time with family while also visiting some formative friendships and favorite haunts. The danger of any relationship, family or not, is the potential for instrumentalization, for turning people into pawns and personalities. Getting away has been one way that I’ve tried to push back against the idea that people are primarily intended to be used and not loved.
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This weekend (today in particular) has been a bit of a rest and reset after a crazy first two weeks of the semester (classes, assemblies, professional development presentation, chapel, a grade-level camp). It’s been a time to play some cards with friends, do some deeper reading, catch up on some missed television, catch a movie I’ve looked forward to for a long time, and do some necessary housework. Plus I’ve tried to plan for a way to get back to writing more regularly here.
Starting tomorrow, I’m hoping to write my way through an essay from Kevin Vanhoozer concerning the Great Commandment as articulated by Jesus in the Gospels. The plan is to tackle one of five sections from the essay each day through Friday and then wrap things up with a final reflection on Saturday. From there, my hope is to try to post about three thoughtful pieces a week. These will often be reflections rooted in the wisdom of others woven through my own experiences and thoughts. I’ve actually got a stack of articles that I’ve been carrying around for a month now that I want to get to (including finally getting back to Peterson’s “The Unbusy Pastor” essay). So it’s an attempt at a soft reset after some good moments of rest and reflection. A palate cleanser, if you will. I might work in a few more entries, too. (I really need to get some thoughts down about Shyamalan’s Glass before I read the thoughts of others.) It’s a tricky thing, trying to be a kind of tide pool in a cultural environment where the waves crash constantly into and over whatever your mind and heart construct for the sake of sharing over the course of a given day or week. But it’s good work, if only for myself.
Tomorrow: The challenges of culture and formation.
(image of the Queen’s Bath from travelandleisure.com)