First, please notice that I specifically did not say “my last” blog post. I have not quit, abandoned, given up, or otherwise stopped blogging. I did take a rabbit trail of sorts, but all with good intentions .
It was like this. As I was minding my own business, writing a post, laying out my ideas for my Word of the Year (WOTY), which at this point has got to be “Procrastination,” whatever else I thought my WOTY might have been. As I was working that out, and considering my future plans, I had a moment of clarity that what I most needed to do was to prepare for my upcoming retirement in some very specific ways. Immediate ways.
That is right, I am retiring again. I set the date for my upcoming retirement back in September. I was pretty sure that I needed to ease into it, sneak up on it and prepare for the drastic changes that retirement would bring. I had fought retirement the first time around, taking a whole six weeks off before returning to work part time. But this time, retirement will be more conclusive. Do not think I have not taken a lot of good natured (?) teasing about the way I was doing retirement to begin with, but I just was not ready to come to a full stop.
While this retirement may not constitute a full on stop, my plan is to do fill in preaching, Sunday mornings only, but not taking a church, both to make room for other activities in my life, but also to make room for someone coming up, eager to continue the work.
All of that is beside the point of why I have not been writing. There are two reasons really. First, I have a commitment to my good friend and writing partner to finish our book, to do what we both have to do to get to a full first draft. So in the two rooms where I am inclined to do any kind of writing, I have a picture with my main character and an admonition that says “Book before blog!” So, if I have not been finding time for the book, no blogging.
There is another component. I could write a blog post and well, post it on my blog and some folks would see it, especially those who regularly follow my blog when there is something regular to follow. But part of the fun of blogging is the mutual supportive community that one finds in a link party. That means that a writer will read and comment on the posts of other bloggers, with the understanding that they will do the same. It is a courtesy, and I would even say it is an ethical responsibility. And it is more fun and community building. So, not having enough time to do that, I have been largely silent.
The third reason I have not posted anything in a long time is the reality that I cannot seem to accomplish as much as I think I used to, given the same time frame. And the preparation I discovered that I need is to prepare the space that has been my home office, into something more like the creative space of a retiree, without it looking like a pastor’s office. And, much to my surprise, and here was the crux of that moment of clarity, I should not wait to start it until I was retired to start. That meant starting in January, combing, but not culling, through my books and papers, giving away books that others might be able to use and gritting my teeth and throwing away papers from seminary that no other eyes would read. All that hard work, right in the circular file. That kind of discernment has taken all the resolve I could muster.
It took about two months to get one bookshelf totally cleared. I have made decisions about what books to keep and have finally managed to totally empty two desk drawers and two drawers of a four drawer filing cabinet, but it is slow and emotional work. Worthwhile work, I hope, but I have thrown myself into the task, and along with that, the work has occupied time that is usually dedicated to writing, and blogging. And, truth be told, I have also been baking bread like there is no tomorrow, and bread making also takes up time and space.
I give away books, and give away bread, and hope that none of my friends duck down under their windows when they see me coming, heavy laden with bags of books, or cradling a loaf of bread in my arms like a newborn baby. O shucks, truth be told I probably have as many pictures of my bread as any new mom has pictures of their babies.
Throw into all those reasons (excuses) the fact that two busy pastors’ seasons have come and gone (Christmas and Easter). I try to be polite when people say that, “Oh, this is your busy time of year!” Because how to explain that Christmas has four weeks of Advent connected to it and Easter has five weeks of Lent connected to it, when they were just being polite anyway?
Well, there you have it, the unvarnished truth about my absence, reticence, hesitation, procrastination and distraction. Thankfully, it was not writer’s block, just a determination to do the right thing and not write. I hope that some of you have missed me. I certainly have missed reading my favorite bloggers and being an active part of the community. I write this and post it in the hopes that for me, it represents a return to some type of normalcy, as I ease into my new life. Nine Sundays, services and sermons, and other activities to go. Eight….Seven…,
Not holding back the tide,