Some people call it a Sabbath. Others call it comp time. I call it dropping off the face of the earth.
On Saturday, June 26, I got on a bus and left our church at 6:56 PM (4 minutes ahead of schedule). I went and had an awesome time with my WC homies, both from my church and from my crew, on the Chippewa Indian reservation in Red Lake, MN. I didn’t return again until Saturday, July 3, at 8:58 PM (32 minutes ahead of schedule). That’s exactly 7 full days, two hours, and two minutes (or 170 hours and 2 minutes). It was the best week I have ever had at camp, counting time as a young child, as a teenager, and as an adult. I will tip my hat to Group, because their camp is the best I’ve experienced.
Despite my concerns going into the week, I was not miserable without Sarah and Jakob. I did miss them (like a boss), but God honored my only family request going into the week: don’t let me miss them so much it hurts. I knew I would have a ton of fun during the day, but I worried about my ability to sleep well at night. My concerns were valid and well-founded, by the way, because I had only been away from Sarah a total of 10 days since we’ve been engaged – none of which were easy for me – and I was adding 8 to it. I’d only been gone 1 night in Jakob’s life, and it was a hard night. I don’t sleep well without them nearby. I only choked up one time, though, and of all times, it was while I was watching the A-Team on Wednesday night in Bemidji. This thought popped into my head: “This is the part I missed, because Sarah wanted me to go call her dad and see if Jakob was okay.” I think it was a combination of that and the aura of BA Baracus that caused it. Still, it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be – not even close.
When I got home, though, I proceeded as though it had been as bad as I had feared. My plan going into Workcamp was to take a long Sabbath when I got home, spending as much time with Sarah and Jakob as possible. Some youth pastors are given this comp time after a trip, and others are not. I used to be one that was not, but KCC is the best, and I no longer worry about the things I used to have to worry about. The approved plan was for me to disappear, and I did. Fearing I would be lured into working on post-workcamp stuff by nothing other than my own nature, I thought it best to leave town, so we went to Ohio and stayed with our friends Nate and Mandy. We know a lot of people in the town we stayed, but we didn’t go out of our way to see everyone. We tried to see a lot of people, but with no time set to see them, we missed many, and we were okay with that. We went to some people’s houses, found them not home, and that was that. We didn’t see them. The important part was resting and spending time together. So we fell off the radar a bit, popping up here and there, but mostly staying invisible to the world.
I learned the need for a Sabbath very early in ministry. It has taken me years to learn to do it right, and I’m still practicing. I used to stay home and work on stuff, but I would call it good, because Sarah and I were in a room together. I confused being home with spending time with my family. My new approach to Sabbath is just dropping off the face of the earth. I will admit to resurfacing now and then on Mondays or other times of rest, but I try to only do so when Sarah and Jakob are napping.
Why is it so important to me? Sarah and Jakob are in first place; everything else is vying for second. God. Sarah and Jakob. Everything else. I love my church family, my youth group, SE kids, my calling, and my ministry. My number one ministry is the Selph family, though, and I would never apologize to anyone for that. I’m glad no one in our church – at least not on staff or on the deacon or elder boards (can’t speak for everyone. don’t want to.) – would expect me to.