Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wind-on-Skin, a sabbatical "short"

Wind-on-skin is a top reason to get on a bicycle. It's a sensation I've indulged in less and less over the last five years with occasional attempts to get back at it. Sixteen months into my pastoral call in June 2014 the Senior Pastor (SP) retired. The same afternoon as his send-off shindig, our beloved family dog Romi was diagnosed with cancer. She died five weeks later.  Those five weeks were full of last walks with her and first steps for me in the three months before the first interim SP who was to shoot the gap during the search for a new one. Wind-on-skin was the last thing on my mind. So a summer a came and went without cycling time.

Each new departure and welcome of SPs brought role changes for me. So I tend to think about my work in five phases - 16 months before the retirement, 3 months on my own, 12 months with the first interim, 9 months with the second interim, and now 2 years with the called SP.  I don't know how other people handle multiple, rapid work transitions within the same organization but it became clear to me that I needed some help to do better thinking - enter Bowen Family Systems Theory, stage left, which includes regular visits with a leadership coach steeped in said theory.

It's also become clear in more recent hindsight that there were unintended consequences along the way as I was getting my act together as a pastor in a thriving parish. One of them is loss of wind-on-skin. It's not just an exercise thing. Sunny dog joined our family a few years back so walking and weight lifting continued. Wind-on-skin is joy and it's also a couple thing for Rob and me. Case in point, our honeymoon included a supported mountain bike ride over the Uncompahgre Plateau from Telluride to Moab. I'm also very aware that Rob married an R.N. not a pastor. He's remarkably supportive of my work and believes, as I do, that it is a calling.  So, as our Trussell sprouts empty from the nest (yeah, mixed metaphor...just roll with it), as parish work has become more defined and mentally manageable, and as I begin a three month sabbatical (gifted by my congregation) in which to rest, reflect, read, and learn, wind-on-skin makes for a top priority.  Rob and I rode dirt together for the first time in a long while a few days ago. It was inelegant, wonderful, and literally took my breath away (clearly more riding to do to get the lungs back).

Signing off to saddle up solo today...
     More sabbatical "shorts" to follow...


  1. Lovely words and a good reminder to get outside! Have a great sabbatical.

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