I have to admit that I'm a typical American in that I rarely use all of my vacation time. As a sole pastor, it just seems easier to skip it than to try to arrange everything for the time away. Of course, the downside is burnout. This year, I'm committed to trying to get away a bit more and have at least three of my four weeks already planned.
Last week, I had a vacation. I did come into the office one day, but I also got out of town. Cheryl and I went to see our daughter Alexis and her husband Christian. We spent some wonderful time together and got to go to Alexis' anatomy sonogram (she is in her 22nd week of pregnancy). Tears came to my eyes as I saw my first grandchild. It was just sublime. I'll write more about this later as it deserves it's own post.
Alexis and Christian were not on vacation so Cheryl and I had a little free time to kill and one afternoon visited the Oakland African American Museum and Library. The museum part is small but I was deeply enriched by our visit. The lion's share of their exhibits are videos of various leaders in the African American community sharing their stories and their thoughts. I was struck by the amount of change our culture has experienced in the lifetime of those amazing people... and the amount of change still required. One man, a retired chief of police for Berkeley, shared that in the 1940's he wanted to be a probation officer. When he tried to apply for the position he was told that they had their quota of "colored" officers - 1 out of 400. He went on to become one of the first black police officers in Oakland and eventually progressed so far as to become the chief of the Berkeley police department. How far we've come... Another, an associate pastor at the Allen Temple Baptist Church, share a story of "walking while black," and being rousted by police officers because of his skin color. I thought of my friends stopped by police for DWB, driving while black, and of Trayvon Martin and of a Florida police officer who brought photos of him to use as targets at a shooting range... how far we have yet to come. I highly recommend a visit to this little museum if you're ever visiting the east bay... and the best part is that it is free!
I brought my guitar and some gear with me and Alexis and I sang in worship on Sunday morning at the church they're attending - Shell Ridge Church. I was struck by the realization of how little I get to play guitar these days (I'm playing bass in the church band) and how much I miss performing with my daughter. Another issue to address... I need to play more guitar.
This summer I'll take a week and when the baby is born I hope to be able to have two but will settle for one. Hopefully being more intentional about using my time off will help to keep me on an even keel. More important, I'll get to spend some time with my grandbaby.