Feel like you need a sabbatical? Take a number and get in line. We’re all feeling it — stressed, overworked, burned out. What to do? I have some suggestions this week in Our Sunday Visitor:
It’s been one of those years. And last year was one of those years, too. We’ve been through everything from Kabul to COVID, and we’re still not out of the woods with either of them. (And let’s not talk about the price of gas or the perpetual head-butting in Washington.) We’ve been fed up, locked down, masked over; we’ve rolled up our sleeves and logged onto Zoom and learned how to Slack and FaceTime and master the art of working in our underwear from home (while wearing a necktie when appearing on a computer screen, of course).
We’ve been watching too much TV and scrolling through too much social media. (You know it’s been too much when you gaze at your wife across the breakfast table and think she is starting to look and sound like Dr. Fauci.)
We need a break.
Better yet, how about a sabbatical?
Ah. “Sabbatical.” A magical, mysterious word — rooted, of course, in “sabbath.” Webster’s tells us it comes from the Greek word sabbaton. Sabbaton traces back to the Hebrew word shabbāth, meaning “rest.” It’s not unusual for people in academia to take an occasional sabbatical — a rest, or some time off for further study — and it’s also not uncommon for those in ministry.
I’ve known a few priests who have taken several months off to travel, study or just recharge their spiritual batteries. (Dioceses around the U.S. have different policies and programs to help make this possible.) But here’s the thing: You don’t need a Roman collar to have a sabbatical experience. It’s closer than you may realize. All of us can make a few simple choices that can leave us rested, reenergized and renewed.
Best of all, you don’t need to pack a bag or have a swab inserted in your nostril.
Want to take a private, spiritual sabbatical? Here are 10 ideas on how to make it happen.
Find my little list here.