My study leave was a last minute excursion. My brother wanted to take a trip to Wisconsin with his younger son. Finances are tight for him, so he needed me to help with the travel expenses and get the electricity turned on at Mom's lakeside cabins. I didn't want to take vacation time to cover this, so I thought to myself, "Self, you haven't taken any study leave in two years." Armed with a double stack of books and an old laptop computer (that was never plugged in), we headed for the north woods.
I had not been up in 14 years. The last time to visit was with my ex on our honeymoon. Facing those skeletons was a bit harder than expected. His face haunted my dreams, and I awoke often, startled, but to the happy realization that he wasn't really there. It was because of these frequent awakenings that I was able to catch this incredible sunrise. Within a few days, the demons were exorcised.
I still can't believe the amount of reading and planning I was able to accomplish. My nephew kept asking, "how much more do you have to read?" He couldn't comprehend that I was actually working...that I got paid to go out into the woods and read all day. It's still rather difficult for me to believe, also. One of the perks of ministry.
I saw a fellow pastor yesterday. She's about to go on study leave. We both felt guilty for "not working at the church." But then we reminded each other of all the holidays we have to work while others get to play. Four day weekends? What are those? Christmas, Easter -- work days for us. So I guess a couple weeks of study leave/continuing ed should be enjoyed without guilt.