Sabbatical

Easter Sunday

It’s been an interesting semester for us. My husband took his first sabbatical since arriving at Moody ten years ago. Though eligible after seven years, he was in the middle of writing fiction and wanted to use a sabbatical for academic work. So having completed the trilogy, now was the time.

He always dreamed of doing sabbatical work somewhere overseas where we could take the kids out of school and travel Europe while he wrote and worked. The reality, though, of my working — and particularly beginning a new job last year — really precluded any trip like that. Somehow, writing from home while regular life routines go on didn’t seem as glamorous!

When we moved here from Virginia in 2002, we went from having my husband around all the time (because we lived near campus and he could come and go quite easily) to him being gone early in the day and coming home later in the evening to make the hour long commute to Moody. At that time, I wondered how in the world we would make it with him being gone so far and for such long days. My children were four and two years old, and we had always pictured him working at a campus that would be nearby our home where we could all be around and experience his world. But such is not the case when you work in the big city and live in the suburbs. Thankfully, his family was around, and we could all be available for one another when we needed support. And we gradually became used to this new normal and the times that he would then be around.

Now, ten years later, with sabbatical beginning, I wondered how in the world we would adjust to having him around more — such as in the middle of our morning routine of getting ready and out the door for school and work! As it turns out, we have enjoyed it a lot. He has been able to accomplish a lot of writing and get one piece published in an academic journal JETS, while working on his next academic book which will include translations he has been working on. But it’s also provided time for him to do more drop off and pick up at school and just be around with us more.

One week while I was preparing for a talk at church, he made dinner 2 or 3 nights! Not just hot dogs, but he went to Southern Living and found out how to make chicken lettuce wraps like you get at PF Changs! They were delicious, and I was impressed!

His sabbatical, though, has been filled with the unexpected as well. Who knew he would lose his close friend in February and we would travel to his funeral? And this is the time God provided for my mom to move to Wheaton, so he has gladly worked to help make that happen — she arrived Tuesday — and will complete the full move when her house sells.

The thing I’ve seen in him is that though sabbbatical wasn’t what he would have dreamed of — hanging out in our home writing while helping me, grieving the loss of a close friend, and moving a mother-in-law to town (which we have all loved, by the way!), he has done so with joy, with gladness, without complaint. My husband is a very driven and active person who can accomplish a lot in a little time because he manages his time well, so to slow down and participate more fully in our home has been a blessing for us, even if it’s been challenging for him — though he’d never say it was!

He said the other day, “Sabbatical is over, I think,” as he prepares to be involved in Moody’s graduation Saturday, start teaching summer school, and travel on his annual Europe trip leading students on tours. It will be good for him to get back in the swing of his routine, but at the end of it, we’re grateful and glad he had the break and the time to be in ours a little more!

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