January 26, 2021

Hanging On…

For awhile now, I have been feeling the need for a break of some kind.

As I’ve written about some of the demanding situations involved in working on a hospice team, many of you have been kind enough to encourage me to remember to practice self-care, and you are right. The schedule of emotionally intense work along with daily writing and moderating on Internet Monk does take a toll at times.

I’m thankful for a family that is understanding and gives me lots of room to do what needs to be done, but I am aware that they sometimes get neglected as these vocational pursuits take my time and energy.

Worst of all, I have simply found it harder and harder to find room to simply enjoy life. Many of my patients have taught me better than I have taught them, that no matter how hard or sad or demanding life gets, God gives us daily gifts of refreshment and pleasure that we can accept or ignore. Too often, I’ve left them unopened.

So, I have planned a sabbatical. I will be taking two weeks off from work in October. I will also be taking the entire month of October off from putting up posts and moderating for Internet Monk. Jeff and the other writers, including some new friends and even some of you will be filling in the columns daily and engaging our community of readers in the same kind of vibrant discussion we’re used to here at IM.

As for me, I will do some different things for a few weeks. Simple things. Enjoyable things.

For five days, I will be hanging out with the monks at The Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, being quiet, walking, attending prayers, writing, breathing.

For another week or so, Gail and I will hop in the car, start driving, and get to know each other again. Before our children went to school, October was our favorite month in which to take car trips together. We can do it again now!

On the weeks when I am working, daytime life and ministry will proceed as usual, but when I come home in the evening I will do something other than sit in front of the computer. I love taking pictures in the fall and hope to snap several albums full. I may get reacquainted with my guitar, or even find a new hobby to take up. It’s possible I will brush the cobwebs off my golf clubs and take a few swings.

Maybe we will visit some churches where we’ve always wanted to worship. Perhaps we’ll camp for a weekend. Or make some visits — David Cornwell, put the coffee on — we may stop by and say hi. And Denise, it’s likely we’ll wind our way through the hollows to Oneida sometime during the month.

It’s all just a little more than a week away, and I can taste it.

I am hangin’ on until then…


  1. Have a blessed time, Chaplain Mike! And if you happen through a corner of Paradise known as Brown County, IN, please…have a fried biscuit and some apple butter for me. (Although I hope to get over there sometime soon, meself).

    Prayers for you and yours…always.


  2. Tom Huguenot says

    This European enjoys 5 weeks of paid vacations every year. I sometimes feel guilty to take them, since pulpit supply is not necessarly easy in my area. On the other hand, I need to recognize that my family, myself and my parish need them…I have been fascinated by Eugene Peterson’s story of his one-year sabbatical. I wonder what I would do of such a time.

    • Ah Tom, I knew I was a European at heart.

    • I had a conversation just yesterday with a friend who’s brother lived in Germany for a number of years and she said he always talked about how family oriented the Germans are and how time off to spend with family is not considered a burden to business. Perhaps we Americans could learn something from our German friends…

      Have a nice break, Chaplain Mike!

    • I know it’s not popular in certain circles to say that the Europeans have it right, but this is one area where they absolutely do. Everyone needs time to recharge or they simply cannot do their best work.

  3. Take some time to heal—and get some silliness worked in as well. Satan hates laughter!

  4. I pray you have a wonderful, restful time. I rarely reply to anything but I am a faithful reader and feel like I know you. May God bless you and strengthen you!

    • We’ll miss you while you’re gone, and rejoice when you return. But most of all, we’ll pray for you while you do (and not do) what needs to be done (and not done).

  5. Don’t forget to give us a full, and I mean full, report when you come back, so take plenty, really plenty of notes. And pictures. Lots of them. What are you waiting for?

  6. Have a great, refreshing time off, CM. Be blessed.

    My prayers will be with you.

  7. Rest and enjoy your time to just be, CM! God’s blessings on your time.

  8. Good for you, enjoy yourself and relax a lot. I gave up reading all 44 websites that I have in my Bookmarks Toolbar for the lenten season and it was quite refreshing. I got so many things done that had been on my to do list. Taking a break from the routine is so necessary at times. Nothing refreshes me more than spending a few days up hiking with my husband and our old dog in the mountains of Wyoming. Watching the sky fade to black at 10,000 feet is not bad either, the Milky Way just pops out.

  9. Mike,
    Enjoy the time, you will be missed!

  10. Have a great sabbtical!!!

    My only advice is to do something stupid and silly at least once, it’s mandatory in my book 😉

    Those are my best memories or trips…



  11. Cheers!

  12. May God bless your rest!

  13. Have a wonder-full and blessed time, alone and with those you love.

    Do remember us in prayer at the grave of Fr Louis (Thos. Merton).


  14. CM you and the Cubs will be taking a sabbatical in the month of October. God Bless

  15. Enjoy your rest. May I suggest “The Rest of God” by Mark Buchanan, if you’ve not read it already? Wonderful book for a month-long sabbatical (I am speaking from experience!).

  16. I can’t wait for the fall pictures. Down here in N. Texas we don’t get as much of that as we did up north.

    Enjoy your sabbatical!

  17. A week at Gethsemani – i’m envious! Enjoy your time away, and hopefully you will renew and refresh. And if you have some mountains around you go stand under a big tree looking over a valley – something that demonstrates to me the Wonder and Awe of He who created….

    When my wife and I lived in Indiana we would go to Little Nashville because the rolling hills reminded us of Pittsburgh….

    And if I were going Chaplain Mike I would find opportunities to laugh alot and nap during the day (oh how I miss sleep).


  18. conanthepunctual says

    Good for you. Embrace the seasons as God provides.

  19. Well, it’s about time. I don’t know how you do what you do.

    God bless you and Gail!

  20. Are you really taking time off, now that the Southern Baptists have announced that they may change their name? How can you walk away from fodder like that? 😉

  21. Yet another “go you” comment. I’m glad to see it when people actually take the time to take care of themselves. Enjoy the fall, enjoy the trees, enjoy it all.

  22. Yeah! Have a great time. Eat something hideously bad for you. Read something just to enjoy it. Enjoy the pictures. Just have a good time and give my regards to your partner.

  23. I can just imagine the web works you’re doing (moderation, posting of article, etc.) are mentally draining. Take a break Chaplain Mike! Have a good rest, and hope to see your posts again.

  24. David Cornwell says

    Chaplain Mike, this is very good. It’ll be good for you and your family.

    We’ve got to work this out. I’m taking another trip the first week in October up to Michigan again, to Traverse City, the Old Mission Peninsula, and hopefully the Leelanau Peninsula. This is a trip devoted to photography and the Fall season. Marge isn’t going with me on this trip, but my grandson is. It isn’t cast in stone yet, so if it doesn’t happen, will let you know.

    After that I’ll be back in town and not going away again soon. One way or the other this needs to happen!

  25. Be encouraged CM! I just recently came off a sabbatical of my own from church work and it has been refreshing. Over a month when I could sit with my dear wife in church and just enjoy God’s presence, or just sleep in on Sunday. The result is that I am less cynical and resentful toward those whom I am supposed to serve.

    God Bless you for your efforts, and I look forward to those photos! Hope you post them on Flicker.

  26. …breathe in….breathe out….

    enjoy your time CM. God bless you and keep you. You are treasured by all your readers. Thank you.

  27. I don’t know how anyone writes as much as gets posted here. I can’t even keep up with reading it all! A well deserved break is most certainly in order. Enjoy!

  28. You will be missed. Have a lovely time with your bride!

  29. You well deserve a break, so enjoy your time and come back rested, refreshed, and rarin’ to go!

  30. Breathe well and deep!

  31. Enjoy! Will be praying for you, for rest and refreshing of the whole person/s. Enjoy time with your sweetheart: my husband and I did the same and just back today. Ready for God’s work and Word this fall…

  32. Enjoy your time away from work and from Internet Monk, Chaplain Mike! You deserve a nice, long break. You amaze me with the things that you do in your work and in your writing. I do well just to stay awake during the day.

Speak Your Mind