Today is my husband's last day of his three month sabbatical. He goes back to work bright and early tomorrow morning. I am sad for him. He has thoroughly enjoyed himself. Our wonderful European adventure, lots of little trips to conferences, seeing friends, visiting some amazing churches around this country, and lots of rest and reading.
Its been really funny from my perspective. The boys and I have taken a little break too, just pulling back from church activities. Being a staff family, as much as we love going to church, its been nice to have a break from the expectations. They've still been going to Bible drill when they can, but took a break from choir. I'm not involved in any Bible studies this semester. I am still working two days a week, and I've been in worship with one or more of the kids more Sundays than not, but haven't done any WBS classes except for preschool a few times. But every time I've been to worship, I've gotten the same questions and comments, "Welcome Back!". Although very sweet, it always made me laugh. I haven't really been anywhere, but we aren't technically back yet. And then they would ask when Jason was getting back, and I would say Nov. 7th, and someone would then say "I can't believe you've been by yourself with the kids for three months!" I would explain, no, he's been home more than he's been gone. And my favorite question would then follow, "Has he gotten on your nerves being home all the time?" Not at all! I thought maybe he would, but I have really enjoyed getting to go to lunch with him without kids, getting to go to matinee movies with him, and doing some of my normal errands with him. I promised myself years ago that if he ever called and asked me to go to lunch I would drop what I was doing and go. So I've dropped a lot the past three months, and enjoyed every minute.
We had some great discussions on our Europe trip about what made us happy, our priorities and goals for our family, and different things we wanted to try. As we suspected, when we got back, life caught up with us and all those new things and goals haven't come to fruition, but it was a start. Its been like pushing a reset button. We've been able to realize when we need breaks, how to handle stress better, what are the really important things that need to be done, and how to politely say "no" sometimes to those things that aren't that important. We haven't agreed on everything, but I think we've bonded through those disagreements. I know for sure our marriage is better than it was three months ago.
I've also had people ask me when I was going to get my sabbatical. I guess they are referring to my job as mom? But J never took a sabbatical from his job as dad. Lots of baseball and football coaching going on, took the boys to Texans games, took them for donuts every Friday morning, just like always. If anything, he had more time for them, and less distractions when he was with them. Wonderful daddy.
I am so thankful to UBC for letting their pastors take a sabbatical every 5 years. I know a lot of churches don't, but they need to. Jason's dad said he's never had one in his 40+ years in the ministry, very sad. I know some people don't understand why pastors should get one. There are three reasons, in my opinion. One is that they really don't have office hours, they don't get to clock out, they are working 24/7. The phone might ring at any time. Jason has 6 AM meetings sometimes and 10 PM meetings sometimes, whenever people have time to meet with him, whenever they need him, he's there. Most people can clock out and go home from their jobs. Another reason is that pastors never get 3 day weekends like most people. There's a Sunday in there, a work day. And holidays aren't great either. Its our Christmas to be at church this year, so he will be at 3 services Christmas Eve and one on Christmas morning. And three, its really hard to have a Sabbath Day, again, Sunday is a work day. And there is life going on the other 6 days, so it is really hard to have a good day of rest for him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. We are so thankful and blessed to be called to this ministry. Its so worth the sacrifices. And we know that God's blessings when we are obedient far out way a day off. But those are the reasons that I am in full support of pastors getting sabbaticals. He can deal with people better, including his family, now that he is rested.
I am looking forward to seeing him in the halls at church when I'm at work. Kind of a cool perk to us both working at the same place. I've known the last three months that he wasn't upstairs, and I missed him. And I am so thankful for his team that work with him. They are so excited he is coming back. It makes a wife so thankful to know that the people who work with him are loyal, supportive, and excited to work with her husband. I am praying for them all this week. It will be an adjustment for everyone. I hope everyone has had a moment to set the reset button. I am very thankful for it.