I’m leaving, on a jet plane…


…or maybe it’s just in a Honda Civic.

I am lurching toward a Sabbath. I can tell, because there’s one tiny sparkle of energy that’s competing with the rest of my body, which wants to smother the life of that pathetic flame.

A committee member left me a lovely email last night saying that she expected me to do a bunch of work while I was on vacation. It’s assumed that I will be answering my email. But I won’t. I’m going to have one of those auto-response messages. I love those things.

Everything in me needs a rest, rest, rest.

Whenever a member of the congregation meets with the HOS and me about going into ministry, the HOS always says (very first thing), “You get four weeks of vacation and two weeks of study leave.”

I add, “And a book allowance.”

It may not be THE reason to go to seminary, but it is really nice. I’m taking it in one big chunk, for the first time. I never did that when I was a solo. Partly, because I (secretly) had that fear that it would all fall apart if I left that long (shame on me!).

So, while your waking up from your Harry Potter hangovers, I’ll be taking it on the road in the Merritt mobile. Here are four vacation suggestions:

Mooch off of friends as much as possible. I mean, who can afford four weeks in a hotel? Plus, let’s face it. Most church leaders spent their lives making friends in church, right? Now that the church is also the job, we don’t have that important source of social interaction. We have other ways of making friends, but many of us have to move often, and we’re always starting over.

So, I say mooch off your college and seminary buddies, until they’re ready to kick your sorry rear out the door. Stay more than three days, become bad fish. Most importantly, enjoy being able to talk and laugh with the people who think it’s outrageous that anyone would call you “Reverend.”

Stay away from the parishioner’s second home. It sounds great, right? A free place, on the lake, for a week? But, I tell you, it’s a trap! Don’t do it! Here’s the reason: You’ll spend most of your time wondering why their second home is ten times nicer than your only home.

Buy the freaking portable DVD player. If you have children, it’s worth the outrageous amount of money. Even if it breaks down in a month. Even if you spent your life (before children) cruelly mocking the crowd who owned the minivan/DVD combo. It’s time to swallow that pride. Because hearing Sponge Bob’s laugh for sixteen hours is just WAY better than hearing “Are we there yet?” for sixteen hours.

Read some trash. Magazines even. If you’re like me, and you find the most entertaining books are still a bit spiritual, that’s okay. As long as it’s entertaining. Like Sue Monk Kidd’s fiction or Anne Lamott (SMK is kind of chic lit. Lamott transcends genders, but what do the guys read?) I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love right now. It’s on the top of the NYT nonfiction bestseller’s list, but it’s very entertaining.

Okay. That’s it for now. Any suggestions for me as I head out? Eat, Pray, Love is not going to last long.


7 thoughts on “I’m leaving, on a jet plane…

  1. My wife and I are taking a much needed holiday next month. I enjoyed reading your article with that in mind! Oh yes, I do plan on mooching off plenty of friends for this trip. Don’t forget, somebody also needs to watch the dogs while we are away!! Moooch away!

    I have a hard time reading trash – just not my thing. I am on a history kick right now. My wife will be reading the latest Henry Potter book.

    I can’t break down and buy the DVD player. It just ain’t in me. When I was a kid, we literally lived on the road for 3 years. I sang a lot of songs, read lots of books, played lots of road bingo, that sort of thing. When I get older, I know I will be the last generation of crotchety old farts who says “Back in my day….”

    Sad but true.

    The only rules I can suggest are turn your cellphone off and leave your laptop at home. If you have to stay in a hotel, at least get one with a microwave/fridge (even in the common room!) Forget about life at home while you are away.

  2. I’m going on vacation, too, and stacking up books. Anne Lamott and Harry Potter and I’m going to try borrow Barbara Kingsolver’s new one from my mom. Also, something called Losing Moses on the Freeway, which I dont know anything about but which looks really good – but not unchurchy.

  3. HIS,

    You must have had parents who were way better people than me and the PoD. The only thing I still do from those pre-DVD days is the silent game! But, then again, I’ve never heard of road bingo. Our lives could very well change with that one.

    Cellphone I can leave at home, but the laptop? Can’t…live…with…out…lap…top. Pathetic, huh?


    Losing Moses on the Freeway? I’ve never heard of it. Great title though. Let me know if it’s good.

    Godspeed to both of you!!

  4. TribalChurch sez:
    “I’ve never heard of road bingo. Our lives could very well change with that one.”

    OH! I doubt it, it is not that great a game, but it kept us kids occupied. It is just Bingo cards, but instead of numbers it had pictures of things you see on roadtrips. Horses, tractors, churches, firetrucks, haystacks, hitchikers, … anything could be on their. See one and cover that picture up – rules of Bingo apply from there. We played lots silly games like that.

    Rob, we played the liscence plate game too! I could find all 50 states and their capitols on a map by the time I was 7 or 8. Sounds like you travelled a lot when you were young too!!

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