This past July, I chose to leave one of my dream careers of coordinating volunteers at an up-and-coming, pay-what-you-can-cafe called A Place at the Table. After only four months of working at Table, Chris was offered an opportunity to pursue tenure as a professor at Delaware Valley University (Del Val) in Doylestown, PA. Though it is a small agriculture town (and I am a city girl), I knew this was exactly the next step Chris, and our family, needed. It was really sad, but it was right.
Not only would Del Val give Chris an opportunity to use his Ph.D. and impact the next generation of college students, but it would also give our family health insurance, a more reasonable schedule, access to excellent public education for Josiah, and a location closer to family.
This move would also give me a window of opportunity. In this transition, I decided to carve out a 3-month art sabbatical.
I officially decided on the art sabbatical after a few separate conversations with my fierce friends Erin and Cindy. Both helped me see the opportunities in the transition, evaluate what I wanted, and dared me to dream for more. Good friends will do that. They will see your potential, tell it to you out loud and invite you to take a risk on yourself.
Good friends will do that. They will see your potential, tell it to you out loud and invite you to take a risk on yourself.
Well, we have been in Doylestown for a little over one month. Our transition has been a combination of hard, exciting, defeating, and silly (like most are). Last week, Josiah started daycare and I started my sabbatical. I have felt every emotion. Excitement for time to create, sadness for losing my 40+ lb side-kick, guilt for not “working” or staying home with Josiah, confusion for how to start a sabbatical, and worry that I won’t reach my goals.
Overall though, I know I am doing something right.
I know this because I believe in the power of taking an intentional break, a Sabbath. I know Sabbath is true and good. Sabbath reconnects us to our Why and our Who. I have been so deeply involved in justice work and current events, witnessing firsthand the horrific demonization of immigrants, the blatant display of racism, sexism, xenophobia and more from other “Christians”, that I just felt disconnected from a sense that God was/is at work. I need this intentional break to encounter the same Divine Mischief that first inspired me, that once threatened powerful Rome, that survived colonization and the Holocaust.
Sabbath is all about intention. As my friend, Lisa, said in her sermon on Living Full in Rest, “I am not talking about laziness, friends.” And neither am I. I have spent hours creating core values, weekly rhythms, monthly goals, and sought out accountability.
My core values are creativity, discipline, education, joy, and presence. I hope to fall back on these when I find myself stuck, lost or even out of control. I will post spontaneous updates focused on these core values to share pieces of my journey.
By the end of my art sabbatical, I hope I have refined my voice as an artist, learned new skills, become more known in this new community, and cultivated more joy to carry me through my next phase of justice work. I am sure it will look nothing like I assume, but I am ready!