In the past week I have watched an entire season of The Real Housewives of Potomac. I've never watched any of the Real Housewives shows before now, but my brain reveled in the petty drama that ultimately had no real consequences in how the world works. It's almost like my brain got to take a nap while I was awake.
The last year of my life has been one of the most challenging in a long time, but it's been very manageable and hasn't registered as hard in the moment.
I started doing some community organizing and it felt like the hits wouldn't stop last year - every single day there was a new issue to add to the list. On top of learning a new trade (organizing) it felt like really really important work to get right. I also made friends with people who were and are directly affected by the issues I was working on, which had more of an emotional impact.
I also did months of training for the Enneagram, hours upon hours of reading and writing a presentation, prepped everything to start a business and then felt called to pump the brakes on that. I applied to Suzanne Stabile's cohort program certain that it was the next step for me only to find out I was not accepted into the program.
I had 3 very close friendships change a lot last year. They went from relationships that were strong tethers in my life to people I barely speak to. There weren't any big falling outs or hurt feelings, but it still left a gap that I felt like I didn't have the bandwidth to bridge. I started new relationships and grew others that mean a lot to me - that has been emotionally and mentally demanding while also being exciting and life giving.
In the past two years Kyle and I have had to relearn how to be married to one another, going to couples therapy every other week for several months and individual therapy weekly for years and using dozens of new tools that were unfamiliar and daunting. I am full of hope for my marriage and am learning to be vulnerable, intimate and connected to my husband in a way that is foreign to me. This has been the heaviest of everything on my plate in the last year. I would do it again every year for a decade if it meant we always got back to where we are now, but it took a lot out of both of us to stand and fight for each other when things got hard. Life is still life and sometimes hard but it feels like we were finally able to come up for air.
As if that weren't enough to hold we also walked through cancer with some of our closest friends last year, after 2016 had left our friend group wearily hoping for a year of calm, and most of us are going through a deconstruction of our faith that is creepily peaceful and unsettling at the same time. It has been incredible to have our core group walk through this process at the same time as us because it is far less lonely than I imagine it would be without them, but it also has been unsettling after being so sure of where I stood spiritually for years and years to suddenly find my questions aren't answered and that God is much much much bigger than I ever imagined possible.
Did I mention I still have two kids? This last year my kids may have been my saving grace. They still drove me crazy but they also represent innocence and love and kindness in a way that nothing else can. Watching them fall in love with each other and bond makes me so joyful and hopeful that they will have a lifelong friendship. They show me grace when I don't deserve it; when I yell or snap at them or am too quick to firmly grab an arm they are so quick to accept my apology and freely forgive.
I am weary.
Last year when I realized I wasn't ready to start a business yet Rachel Triske asked me, "What are the holy desires God has placed in your life?" and my answer was, "to slow down."
When thinking about that the last six months I keep coming back to the idea of making bread every week. Taking the time to be present and feel the dough and relax and soak in the moment. Breathing deeply and meditating in the beauty of a simple loaf of bread and everything God can say through it.
And so, I am taking a sabbatical. I'm taking the month of April to rest. I won't be listening to political podcasts or keeping up with the news or planning any Enneagram workshops or planning any events or registering any voters or teaching any essential oils classes. I'm planning to write through the process, and I'll push my posts to social media in order to invite you into the process with me, but I will be fasting from social media during the next month.
Instead I'll be making bread, drinking wine with friends, smelling the top of my kids heads as much as possible, picking up my guitar and sitting down at my piano more often, reading soul feeding books and writing about what matters most to me. I'll be soaking up conversations and moments with people that I love and I hope to find new rhythms that carry past this period of rest. I'm excited to slow down and listen and recharge.
If you've read this far, thank you. It means a lot to me to know that there are people who are journeying with me through life. Please leave a comment, even if it's just a wave to say hello.
Have you taken a sabbatical before? What do you feel like you learned during that period? Were there any spiritual practices you took into the process or away from the process that you found helpful or life-giving?