In a week and a half, a vacation responder will chirp back a greeting to each and every email that arrives in my inbox. And, as long as everything goes according to plan, even though my fingers will likely quiver over the buttons on the phone, as if by sheer undeniable force (and trained reflex alone), I still won’t update my mailbox.
The same goes for social media, which for me means unplugging from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the better part of five weeks.
And friends, I couldn’t be more excited for the break.
I’m tired – like tired-to-the-bones kind of tired, tired to the point of knowing I’m on the verge of burn out (because I’ve been there before), and tired to the point of knowing that it’s not doing anyone – not me, not my family and certainly not my readers – any good to keep spinning my wheels.
It’s like we think all of this spinning will somehow transform itself into energy instead of exhaustion. As a result, we just keep going, because we think we have to, because we think we should, because we falsely believe we have no other choice.
Of course, I realize even as I prepare now to take a break and not work and step away from a paycheck for five weeks, that this is nothing short of privilege. My husband and I opted not to put our kids in camp this summer for a variety of reasons; more than anything, though, we knew that if I wasn’t bringing in any money, we couldn’t justify putting out all that money that wasn’t coming in in the first place.
More importantly, we knew that if Mama didn’t get her cup filled, there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of momentum left to create in the future anyway.
You see, I’m a creative.
And perhaps you’re a creative too. Really, it’s a new word for me. It took me awhile to try on the title “writer,” but eventually I did it, and eventually it stuck. Now, when it comes to naming what I do during the day, I usually say that I’m a writer and a speaker; sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly plucky, I’ll even call myself an author.
But when I really think about what I do, I think about the creativity involved in sitting down to put pen to paper. I think about the hours spent in silence, thinking and musing and wondering over a particular passage of scripture when I’m preparing to preach on it a couple of Sundays later. I think about how my own soul has to be at a space to create and wrangle the words nestled inside me in the first place – how I have to be filled up and thirsting for a drink, rested and not twisting my neck from side to side to loosen the tight spaces spent from lurching toward a computer screen.
I think about how desperate I am for that creativity well to be filled once again.
Y’all, I’m dry. I’m tapped out. I don’t have a whole lot to give, not to my writing, not to myself and not to my family.
So, friends, I’m doing it. I’m finishing up little projects here and there right now, just as I’m clocking time sending a stack of emails and thank you cards I’ve been meaning to send for the last two months. A handful of Patheos posts will show up periodically throughout the month, but even that sentiment is questionable at best …because regardless of what gets done in the next week and a half, I’m still taking a short sabbatical.
I’m still holing up with my babies and with a stack of (mostly fiction) books. I’m still gearing up for family vacation and road trips with the boys, dinners on the grill and campouts in the backyard if we’re lucky, too.
So, if you send me an email and get a chirpy message in reply, then just thank your lucky stars that your girl is doing the only thing she’s supposed to be doing right now – which is absolutely, positively nothing.
And that is exactly where she’s supposed to be.
Have you taken a sabbatical in the past? How has a break from social media refilled your soul?