My old friend Michael recently sent me an email about my absence on this blog: "Haven"t heard from you for awhile and hope that everything is going well. I want to think that you are OK, but that it's pretty difficult to write something every day, but it's been since February that you have written."
I'm grateful for the various, "Are you okay? Are you going to write again?" queries. I didn't step away from writing with the thought that I would be absent this long. I have continued to daily write and edit my other blog, Climbing Companions, but I have kept my distance from Dwell & Cultivate for several reasons:
1. I was at the bottom of my creative writing well. I felt as if I was on a writing Merry-go-round and we had circled a few too many times.
2. I have been using my time to read instead of write. I am leading a group of church leaders in a study of leadership (How many times can you count derivatives of "lead" in that sentence?). I have been gobbling up books, mostly to help me in my own leadership skills.
3. Our church is in a transition. In some ways, it is always in a transition, but this year has included a new Saturday night worship service as well as significant time working with staff to prepare us all to care for more people.
4. Storms of life have been battering my boat. Early in the year, it was three nephews in jail in Haiti. While their mission leader remains incarcerated down there, the charges against our family members have been dropped.
Now, another gale-force wind has been blowing. I received word early in April that Gary, a first cousin with whom I grew up, was experiencing harsh neurological symptoms and had to be hospitalized. Gary passed away on Wednesday afternoon. We are the same age, went all through school together and have maintained our family bond through the years.