Today is my last day in the office before I go away for the month of August. I am so excited to have time to nest with my husband in our new house.  I will also have a directed spiritual retreat with my spiritual director who has been companioning me since we moved to Fort Myers.  And, of course, all the books I will read.  Some are for fun.  One of my mentors, the Rev. Nan Hobart, always told us students how important it was for us to read fiction and to read what our people were reading.  In this way, we could enter the imaginative realm of hundreds of people who have been affected by stories, sounds, and images created in popular fiction books.  But I will also read websites and books about church administration and commnication.  And then some vacation time in East Tennessee offers some time to my roots.  Andy and I will celebrate my mom & stepdad’s 20th wedding anniversary in Knoxville.

Roots is the theme for the year.  Just last night, Our Unitarian Universalist Story class reminded us of our theological roots in Poland, Transylvania, and England.  So quickly did our discussion wander to the present, to stories of tolerance and intolerance today in our lives.  Knowing who we are and were we came from informs our present.

Being a minister is interesting in terms of role and identity.  It is so easy for me to become so wrapped up in my identity as a minister that I could sacrifice the past  (my roots, if you will)  that helped shape my call to Unitarian Universalist ministry.  Identities like, young adult, wife, friend, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, granddaughter, activist, peacemonger, and weird-o goofball , all have to be a part of my minister identity.  These branching roots give me a solid base.  And the time I spend away helps me draw deeper the nutrients I need for the coming year.

I have been told that unhealhthy leaders (minister or otherwise) are the ones who cannot leave, who cannot take their vacations, who simply cannot set the boundaries in their lives to take care of themselves.  So I exercise the trust in leaving for a month, knowing our capable staff and empowered leaders keep us going and reaching out into a community that needs our love and care.  The more important lesson is knowing that the ministry of the church does not revolve around me.  It’s about us and about who has not yet come through our doors. It’s about responding to basic human needs in our community: love, hunger, dignity, quality of life.

So I will see you in a month, UUCFM, and I will be in touch!

view from dock1

view of our house from the dock out back

viewfromdock2

view of the Caloosahatchee facing southwest from the dock

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