Lately, I’ve been thinking about is how we have so many opportunities to repent, to change, to grow and to shift our thinking. I recently re-read a post I never published at the beginning of the pandemic. It was so hard! Yet, I now look back at that original pandemic shut down of 2020 as a time of recentering. Our family was no longer being pulled apart by the outside world. We were centered on being together (though forced) and pressures seemed to be lessened. Of course, there were fears as we, with the rest of the world, tried to understand this disease upon us, but we were comfortable and safe in our home together.
As I was reading the unpublished post, I realized my family is having another “shut down” right now. No, we are not quarantined, social distancing, stock-piling, or wearing masks. We are simply on sabbatical — in every sense of the word. For the last few months we have been living in Acworth, Georgia (just north of Atlanta) while J teachers at Kennesaw State a few days a week. Our family found a long-term Airbnb to rent, I have been homeschooling the boys, and we have been experiencing true Southern culture. It has been exciting and exhausting! It has been a time for us to recenter, to build relationships, and even to experience boredom (it’s real!).
The archaic definition of sabbatical is: of or appropriate to the sabbath. It’s a space and time of rest, learning, rejuvenation and growth. At least, that is what it’s been for me… and for J. Now as I think about our final month here I find myself asking the same questions I asked as the world started to reopen: What have I learned from this time away and what do I want to keep?
Unsurprisingly, the answers are not much different.
I have learned that family is and can be central. But that does not mean we need to be together 24/7.
I have learned there is a purpose to activities and hobbies for the boys. ;-) And with that I have (re)learned that that structure can be good for me, too! But, we can choose such activities it’s purpose rather than pressure.
I have learned we need space from one another…at least sometimes. And that’s okay.
I have learned how to simplify meals! (Though we will not eat out nearly as much as we have been once we return home.)
I have (re)learned I really love and need yoga in my life!
I have learned how to be more flexible (maybe?)…but also that I really do like to have a plan in mind in order to feel like I’m living life on purpose.
I have learned to laugh more.
I have learned more about what I value the ways I spend my money. (Big one!)
I have learned the art of exploration! I’m definitely going to try to keep that spirit alive when I return to Idaho. There are many things to explore there right where we live!
In short — I am simply grateful for this time of re-centering. I think we moms need to take regular sabbaticals. In the work place sabbaticals are typically built-in — every five to seven years. When do mothers, particularly those who stay-at- home, get sabbaticals? Years ago I actually did take a sabbatical every two years and attended Education Week at BYU. Since moving to Rexburg, it has been more difficult to take that time. But I’m ready to build a regular sabbatical back into my life. Whether it is a weekly moment or a bigger annual event, I want to revisit that regular pattern in my life. I always came back from Education Week rejuvenated, recentered and ready to jump back into my work and love of motherhood.
When is your next sabbatical? ;-)
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“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” — Ralph Marston