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Sharon’s Sabbatical Reflections August 29, 2014

This will be an ‘interesting’ reflection.  Tomorrow morning I being the 24 hour drive home anticipating the two audio books that will make the journey fly by.  Any time I plan a long road trip I prepare with a trip to the book store.  As most of you know, I love to read.  My choices are across the literary map:  classics, mysteries, biography, history…but never science fiction or fantasy.  One of my favourite cartoons hung in the stairwell of the old Stonewall library.  It was by Lynn Johnston who drew “For Better or For Worse” for many decades from her home in Lynn Lake, MB.  Elizabeth is lying on her bed on her tummy with a book open before her.  In the cloud above her head it says;  “I love the pictures I make in my mind”.  Only once has a movie lived up to the pictures that came to my mind while reading a novel.  That was “The English Patient”.  Usually, I find movies based on books a visual injustice!Currently I am reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet.  It was reviewed in Fortune magazine when it was first published in 2012.  The subtitle is:  The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.  I am drawn to this book because I am an introvert.  Over the years in ministry I have been required or encouraged to go through a plethora of psychological and personality testing.  Usually it is intended to help us know ourselves better and, thus, be more effective in ministry or in academia.  So, for those of you who might think it outlandish that might be an introvert, let me assure you that the tests have all come back with a consistent determination.  Cain’s book is helpful but challenging reading.  Early on she goes through the history of character and personality and how these have been valued at different stages of history.  As she reached the middle decades of the 20th century, her observations struck home.  In my lifetime, our culture has prized extroverts.  They are generally the successful, popular people.  She speaks of the self-help book industry (and I hope she will touch on the self-help TV industry too) that sets out to beat introversion out of us.  Introverts like quiet and reading.  We avoid conflict and prefer to work alone.  We tend to have a few very close friends rather than a lot of casual friendships.  We like deep discussions over small talk.Another area that she explores later in the book is sensitivity.  I haven’t reached that section yet but her comments in the introduction suggest that this may be a feature of my personality.  It is something that I find is taking a more powerful place in my life and I am eager to know more.I am grateful for this time to read, to be quiet, to listen, to reflect and to learn.  I do recognize this is a great luxury and gift.  This has been a time to clarify values and priorities and to commit to practicing them in the future.  Most of all, I have felt the gentle presence of the Spirit guiding, leading and calming me.Blessings,Sharon

Categories: General News, Sharon