May 20th, 2010

BIG PICTURE: I’m left with the same feelings I had yesterday, but they are less intense. I’m truly surprised by how 10 days of this sabbatical has really thrown me for a loop. I’ve lost my bearings. Ironically my relationship with God feels as dry as a Barton Payne text book. I can’t come up with ANYTHING I want to do. I have the entire Internet at my disposal, 100 channels of T.V., 3 game systems and a host who would be happy to let me run bare-foot through all of it. But it’s not appealing. I am getting study done, but not at the pace I had committed to. It’s so weird: I can’t stick to the 50/10 thing either. But you’d think I’d do 30 minutes of study and 90 minutes of rest if I’m bored. It’s true; I do that sometimes. But then I’ll grunt out 5 chapters in 3 straight hours! It all has something to do with patient endurance…with moving steadily. It’s like the hike: I’d get up at 5:00AM, hit the trail by 6:00, cover 7 or 8 miles by 10:00AM and be exhausted. What is that? Being too destination driven?

I told Brenda last night that I feel like I’ve lost who I am. More accurately, the feeling is that this sabbatical has REVEALED that I am hollow. I feel like I’m just a reflective surface; that my one talent is mimicry. The only reason I preach well is that I can ACT like a good preacher. I lead by PRETENDING to be a good leader. Maybe it’s true of my mystical side too: I know what authentic mystics would think/say/do, and I emulate that. I’m a shape shifter. It just feels like when all the tethers are lose, when I have nothing to accomplish but to BE….there is a horrifying emptiness there because I have nothing to reflect back, nothing to copy. Like I said….I don’t feel as deeply about it as I did yesterday. But it’s still there.

CLASS WORK: Mr. Payne continues to drag my desiccated corpse over the sandy contours of the Old Testament. Oh, that he would let my dried and leathery body decay in peace.

READ/RITE/REFLECT; MARRIED TO DISTRACTION: I read two chapters today, the first on  “connectedness” and how we must make time to ensure that “it” can happen. Pretty convicting.  Thoughts that caught my attention were: “Disconnectedness that stems from lack of time is PREVENTABLE.” Makes common sense, but it was good to read the words. “Distraction erodes connectedness” Again, common sense, but a little more subtle than just being too busy. I think this describes the times that Brenda has said that “I’m not THERE” in the house with her and the kids. I think we do it too by letting the current of distraction pull us apart. I will usually become aware of it when the number of “screens” in the house equals the number of people in different rooms. It’s what they spoke of earlier in the book about the technology militating against  being focused on each other. I  really liked praying together last night, though it was personally painful…there was connection.

Anyway: the take home for me here is to take the “in-between” times when we’re together more seriously and consciously connect.

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