Carys: Sabbatical Reflections

Unexpected gifts

God says “For I know the plans I have for you…”

My original plan for my sabbatical did not work out, God hadanother plan. This other plan meant that I embraced what might be a seen as a weakness-anxiety,and discovered much more about Carys. And discovered that for me on my sabbatical‘suffering from anxiety’ became a gift.

Anxiety although awful was also the thing that made me stopand value the moment. To stop and listen to the birds sing, to really look atnature, to value friendship, to have wonderful moments of meditation, to lie inmy tent and realise and remember how much I love camping, to listen to thequiet and become quiet within…I could go on.

Because my sabbatical plans were changed and I was havingadventures out with the car and walking from there, and staying in different placesthere were other opportunities that happened. If I had simply been walking Iwouldn’t have had time for these other things.

Another unexpected gift was that when I came back from thetrip to Somerset and Cornwall. (I wrote about these times, this is where Ifound the stirrings within, of encountering Christ in wild flowers, water andtrees.) I was then exploring what my next adventure would be. While I had beencamping I had loved being in the tent in the evening listening to the birdssing, so I started wondering, do birds sing differently in the Norfolk Broads? Andif I was going to go there it would be best if I could be on a boat, so Ilooked at a website that shows classic sailing boats. I was surprised to comeacross the information that the boat I have sailed on for the last few yearsEda Frandsen had a cancelation for the 9 day trip. I realised that because myother plans hadn’t happened I could do that! This was an unexpected gift andwonderful, to sail on Eda again…

As my plans were changed at the end of June I was also ableto go to the Ordinations of the Deacons. Particular friends of mine were beingordained and I had always known that I would be unable to go. What joy sprungin my heart to be there and to cheer them on.

Another time on my sabbatical found me in the Lake District,when I got there I was feeling strange. I couldn’t figure it out. I was stayingat an YHA, I had been for a long walk, and I had had a good meal. All thingsthat I recognise help how I am feeling. Suddenly I thought could I be lonely,it had been a time since I had met with a friend. We have a Facebook page forDeacon’s so I put a message on “is there any Deacon’s in the Lakes who couldmeet up today or tomorrow? I am feeling lonely while on sabbatical.” TwoDeacons got back to me, one I knew and one who was to be a new friend. Each dayI met with someone and chatted and shared, they gave me lunch and with one wewent for a lovely walk. An unexpected moment on my sabbatical, but another gift.

The final time of gift, is that because I was at home alittle more than I thought I would be my husband and I had some wonderful timestogether. Days out in London, days out in Kent and going for drives, timesexploring together, meals together.

God knows the plans in store for us, plans to bless, may notbe what we expect but God is with us.