A musician once told me, “you can teach someone to play the notes but a virtuoso knows what to do between the notes.”
This advice has stayed with me, not because I am musically talented, but because the notion of paying attention to the moments between the busyness of modern life seems wise. At the end of August I resigned from a job I held for 23 years. It was the role of a lifetime. Even so, my time had come to an end. For September and October of this year I didn’t have a job to go to. For the first time in a very long time I woke up without responsibility or obligation.
I found myself in a space between.
I am embarrassed to report that I cannot recall ever being in a space like this before. Vacations and sabbaticals always included a least a thread of connection back to the responsibilities of work. I could never fully disengage. But this time was different. I had no job to go back to. After the initial shock of what I had done subsided, a new reality began to emerge.
- I turned off my alarm clock and woke up when it felt right.
- I quit writing. This is actually my first foray back into blogging.
- I spent unencumbered time with family – no distracting emails or phone calls.
- I lingered at the dinner table sharing stories and laughter with friends.
- I rode motorcycle, attempted a road trip to my place of birth, flew to Europe, rode the Eurostar, and rented a Harley.
I am profoundly grateful for everything 23 years at DOOR gave to me. My understanding of faith, inclusion, and God have been forever shaped because of this role. I have dear friends from all over North America. My former colleagues and partners in ministry have permanently shaped who I have become.
This space between has allowed me, much like the prodigal son returning home, to reengage my first call – to the local church. I do know that if my time as pastor is going to be healthy for both me and my new congregation, I will need to pay attention to and take advantage of the spaces between.