It took a face-to-face reminder of how much some people look to my writing to get this blog written. Last Sunday I was at a commissioning service when one of the members pulled me aside and said, “The first thing I do on Thursday mornings is read your Holy Breadcrumbs blog. I am not sure what happened, but my technology seems to have failed me.” I quickly let her know that it was not her technology that had failed her! I admit that I dropped off the edge of the earth with regard to my writing recently.
I am titling this blog “Sacred Absence” as it captures the reason behind this drop off. Emotionally and spiritually I have needed a pause. For over four years, I have been writing under the Holy Breadcrumbs title. It has had a certain and specific purpose—to tease out a new vision for the presbytery by tossing ecclesiastical spit wads at the wall and seeing which ones stuck. Okay, the better Biblical image is of tossing hundreds of seeds out onto the soil of our churches, but you get the point.
With the adoption of our new mission and vision, we have shifted from discerning which direction to go to living into something new. That is all welcome and wonderful news. It also means that my voice and my writing must change. I need to drop the cloak of playfully teasing us forward to now strategically leading us forward. That is a different kind of writing and a different kind of voice.
My silence exposes my need to enter into a time of discernment. It is one of the reasons that pastors receive two weeks of study leave every year and a three-month sabbatical. We need time to let the Spirit talk to us without the pressures of needing to produce something wise, pithy, contextual, honest and inspirational on a weekly basis. Just as good music comes from the rests between the notes, good spiritual leadership is grounded in the sacred absences from the 24-7 pressures of religious leadership.
At the same hour that this blog is published, I will be leaving for California to walk the 75-mile Camino de Sonoma over six days. I have done pilgrimages before and I know the power of disconnecting from the digital world, making room for the Soul to expand, and allowing the Spirit to do Her work. I am confident that I will return with my voice clearer, my writing more focused, and my purpose reinforced.
I write this blog to let you know that I have not gone away forever. I am not done writing. But Holy Breadcrumbs will look different, feel different, and maybe even have a different name when I emerge from this Sacred Absence. Trust me, I am not going away. I am just spiritually regrouping as we enter this new transformational season in the presbytery.
Presence and absence are part of the dance of relationship.
I promise you, I am present even in my absence.
By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades