We all have heard the saying that it is the plumber who is fixing everyone else's clogged pipes who has a drain stuck at home that he just never gets around to. Or maybe it is the teacher that does a great job in the classroom who comes home and losses it with the kids.
I think part of this breakdown exists because when we get home we simply do not what to do what we have done all day. We need a break. That makes sense, but it becomes dangerous for the preacher. We see it all the time--the preacher's kids end up going astray. I used to think that was because the kids rebelled because they didn't want to be drug to church all the time. Now I know that is not the case. Often church leaders' families fall apart because the kids see who dad (or mom, if she is the preacher in the family) really is and what they see at church and at home is not the same thing. When this is the case, I do not blame anyone for walking away from the faith. I worked for a short time with a man who was a real bear to work with (he supervised me), but every Thursday evening he prided himself in his attendance at a Christian Business Men's gathering. Every Thursday, as he left work gloating over his sanctity, I left saying if Christian faith produces what I saw in his life, I did not want it. Fortunately, God had another plan, and through a long haired, tattered jeans, converted hippy, I met Jesus.
What does this have to do with my sabbatical. Simply this. For the last long while, I have not had the spiritual relationship at home with Doris that I desired. We have a good marriage, but I often got home and really did not want to do what I did all day with people. That is, pray with Doris and share very much in her spiritual journey. One of my sabbatical goals is simply to rebuild the spiritual foundations of my relationship with the most important person, next to Jesus, in my life. This will take time, but it is beginning on this road trip. We have had opportunity to pray together each day, in the morning and at other times. The pressure is off and I can just be me.
No doubt God wants to take Doris and me to even deeper places in our relationship with each other, and with him, but this new start feels really good. I know as I write this, and as my coach Geoff will read this, he will immediately begin to frame questions that push me to figure out how I maintain this when I am back in the thick of pastoral work. Go for it Geoff.