Sitting By The Still Water
Where I grew up, there was a small creek in our backyard. When we were young, my sister and I would spend summer afternoons churning up the water, making it murky and brown, by running through it, throwing rocks and chasing crayfish. By evening, when I would wander back to the creek, I would discover that the water had settled back to crystal clear and I could see straight to the bottom.
My life up until I declared a sabbatical retreat for myself was made murky by the churning of obligations and commitments. Since starting my sabbatical, I have been saying no to any new requests and only doing what needs to be done on the others. I have been journaling more, taking longer walks and listening to what my life is saying to me. My water has settled with debris floating away and only those things which are truly important remaining. I have to admit – this crystal clear view of my life is making me pretty uncomfortable.
I am sitting now with the heavy presence of grief as my father’s illness progresses. Midlife has taken up residence in my home as I count my gray hairs and the days to my daughter’s departure for college. Loneliness has leaked in as I realize that I have few true confidants and I hunger for female companionship (a common complaint of pastors’ wives, of which I am one). Right about now, churning up the water again with lots of commitments sounds pretty good compared to the pain these emotions are causing.
But this is the point of my sabbatical. To sit with these feelings, explore them and find my way to the new normal that these transitions will force. It would be easy to refill my calendar with lots of “things” or numb the pain with retail therapy, food, wine, you name it. I am choosing to feel the emotions, shed tears when needed and understand that suffering and love can coexist and, in fact, that is the only honest way to experience life. I am listening to what my life is saying and it is telling me to stay by the still water because within its current I will find the my path.
Retreat Coach Linda Potter | Retreat Coaches Network