Road Trips and Time Off

So wow, a whole year has gone by, and I haven’t written a single blog. Shows how busy my life is. Or that maybe I want to do something besides blog in my spare time.

I went road tripping in May with a college friend, my freshman roommate, Sally. Since then I have felt more energetic than I have in years. I think it was like pressing the Reset button on an electronic device. Why do we have the tendency to not listen to our bodies and spirits when they are crying out for rest? That’s sort of a rhetorical question, but my life post-road trip has made me think about the value of “sharpening the saw,” as Stephen Covey described taking time off in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

When I press the Pause button on my life and take a couple of weeks off back-to-back, I think about all sorts of things. I thought about retirement and when I want to retire. Not sure I have a clear answer on that one yet. I came back to work reenergized and rarin’ to go. Since the road trip, I have decided I want to pursue a certificate in spiritual formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Further education at this juncture in my life, on the surface, doesn’t make sense. I’m not doing it for the sake of advancing in my career. I’m doing it because I love a challenge, and I want to keep my gray matter functioning, and because I love thinking about spiritual stuff.

Taking time away from my family made me appreciate the unique gifts of my husband, son, and daughter. My son broke up with his girlfriend of almost two years while I was away. My daughter got another job than the one she had planned to start this fall. (It’s good…she just realized that she couldn’t teach Spanish at a high school level because her licensure covers only middle school). We are excited that she will be teaching at a great middle school, John Trotwood Moore…and she won’t be the only Spanish teacher at her school. I think JT Moore takes Spanish seriously, so none of this “Well, we’re not going to offer Spanish next year, so we need you to teach 5th grade science and social studies” stuff like she endured at her last school.

And John, well, let’s say I got a little frustrated trying to get in touch with him while on the road trip (I kept getting a busy signal when I called), but there was a reason I was able to reach our children and not him for a few days. We finally got connected, and all was well. Since the trip, he says I’ve changed, that I act more like Sally. Well, that’s a good thing. Sally is an assertive woman who knows her own mind and is practically a genius. She taught me much about laundry, wovens and knits, and lots of other things on the trip. I realized how much I didn’t know about her job as a professor at Texas Christian University, even though we have corresponded about our work and personal lives for years. Sally and her husband, Jim, have been married about 1 1/2 months longer than John and me. It’s fun to see the different ways we interact with our spouses.

I came home appreciating my spouse for allowing me to be who I extravert who has introvert tendencies and needs solitude at times to figure out what the heck is going on in her life. Spending time with a longtime friend is a precious gift. Sally and I never turned the radio or any music on during the trip. We kept a conversation going most of the time. She also introduced me to a new author: Louise Penny, who writes murder mysteries. I didn’t start with the first book in the series but now will have to go back and read that one after I finish A Rule Against Murder.

I am grateful for time away and look forward to another road trip sometime! John and I took a brief one over the 4th of July weekend and caught up with several relatives and one lifelong friend. More road trips to come!

Anne and Dad 1

I also thought about my sweet dad a lot during the road trip. I miss him every day. This pic was taken at The Upper Room Agape Garden when he was nearly 90 (so I think it was around 2011 or 2012). He lived to age 93 (one month short of turning 94). Daddy was a very kind, humble, Christian man, and I am privileged to have had him for 25 years after my mom’s death.