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Tag Archive: sabbatical


Hotel Room 1bIn the previous post, I was talking about my sabbatical to Marshall that ended up being unlike what I had previously imagined. I checked in to the hotel late Monday night. When I entered the hotel room after checking in at the front desk, I did what I have always done since taking vacations with my parents and my younger brother. Check out every nook and cranny of the room, beginning with the desk and all drawers.

The dresser drawers never had anything in them and they still don’t. Some hotels used to put extra pillows in the bottom drawers of the dresser, but that was years ago. When the desk drawer had hotel stationary. Now the desk does not even have a drawer.

Some things are the same. The book of information about the hotel and surrounding restaurants, shops, etc. A pen, a notepad, survey card, and the usual bathroom items. And the Gideon Bible in the bedside drawer. But when I opened the drawer this time – and found the Bible – the Mormon Bible was next to it. Which was comforting to me – like I said, I was there to quit a bad habit – simply because there is strength in numbers.

But it was also intriguing, because it was a hotel in Marshall, Texas – a town of 24,000 people. As best I could ascertain, there are two Mormon churches in Marshall. I don’t think two churches could afford to supply Bibles to all of the numerous hotels in Marshall. Which raises the question of which hotels and why? But that is a question for another time.

What matters is that the hotel having both a Bible and a Mormon Bible is a step toward understanding our neighbors and living with our differences. Perhaps there will come a day when you check into a hotel and there will be several Bibles or holy books of other religions. More for people of the different faiths who may stay at the hotel than for the proselytization of those faiths. The different holy books would also be available for anyone wanting to learn about other faith traditions.

Which will be a subject we will return to in this blog. One of the main purposes of Chasing After Wind is to write about those times – simple or complicated – in which life and theology intersect. And since I am a member of a few interfaith organizations, another purpose of the blog is to promote dialogue between all religions and faith-based organizations. Join me as we look for God in everyday life, and learn about other faith traditions.

Peace be with you.

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I was in East Texas a week ago. Marshall, to be precise. I had business in Jefferson, but there are fewer places to stay there. And less to do, to be honest. There’s not all that much to do in Marshall. But there were enough places to go to give me sufficient reason to leave the hotel occasionally, if I chose to do so. Which made working alone in a hotel room more manageable. Leaving is not as important when you simply know you can.

I had three goals in mind. The first – not necessarily in order of importance – was to reconnect with myself and recover from the end of year and first of year psychological roller coaster. From the emotional buildup before Christmas – which for us included plumbing problems beginning the weekend before Christmas and not ending until several days after – to the anti-climactic, questionable, introspection of New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the first few days – actually, as it turns out – weeks of the year.

The second goal was to quit a bad habit. I am fortunate to be able to say that – so far – my efforts were successful. The third and last – but certainly not the least, as they say – goal was to reconnect with God through music, meditation, and prayer. Actually, these goals were three parts of the same goal. Whether I reached all three goals has yet to be determined.

Reaching a goal whose finish line is not a mark in the sand, but an indistinct and flexible idea of a time in which everything will be “back to normal” is a rather elusive task. But the trip was for the experience as well as the goals. A chance to not so much take a break from the everyday, but see it from a different view. With internet, social media, smartphones and the like, it is, unfortunately, rarely possible to completely take a break from the “everyday.” If you think about it any harder, it is literally impossible.

I had this concept of the trip as a time of writing furiously and returning home with pages of prose and songs. Which was rather unrealistic. What I did accomplish – at least partially – was to realign my expectations, relax and spend time in prayer, contemplation, and guitar playing. Which is as much as I should have expected, being gone only three days and having an afternoon worth of business to take care of in Jefferson.

I also spent time thinking – in general, but also about this blog. With life not allowing posting opportunities in January, I also needed to revitalize the blog and reconnect with its purpose. Which always seemed obvious to me, but not to some of my readers. The purpose and goals of the blog will unfold as days go on. The About page will be updated along the way. Some things will stay the same.

But in the meantime, if you had four nights and three days to get away, what would you do? If you read any previous posts, what did you like most?

Join me – or rejoin me – on this earthly and spiritual journey.

Peace be with you.

[I have pictures, but apparently WordPress has not wanted me to upload pictures for a couple of days!]

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