When I first entered the ministry it was customary for Unitarian Universalist ministers to take two months each summer to travel, read and reflect on their work. In fact, Unitarian churches were often closed for the summer in New England. There may be good reasons for this: before air conditioning it was hot in those old meeting houses, ministers drove ice cream trucks in the summer, God gave us time off for good behavior. Even when it was expected I never managed to be gone that long. It just didn't seem right to be away from the people whose lives were so intertwined with my own.
So these days I take time off throughout the year but in smaller increments, often combining it with other denominational duties. I will be leaving Sunday evening for a month of Sundays. I will first go to Chicago where I have some work to do on my doctorate (and Frances can visit her family who all live there), then onto New England to visit my family and spend some time in our little cabin off the Maine coast. I will go to read, write and generally relax. It is a great privilege to do so.
I look forward to this journey every year. There is something quite renewing about journeying away whether for a month, a week or even a day. I commend journeying to you this summer. Summer is a special time, a time to be more at ease from our daily lives. What surprise awaits your summer journey?
With Grace and Grit, John