I go on sabbatical beginning on June 1. More in later post about this sabbatical, its development and delay over the past few years, and what the plans, themes, and goals are.
Knowing that the sabbatical was coming, back in March I ordered a bunch of books for it. I also pulled out a few from my existing library I haven't yet read and plan to during this summer.
Yesterday afternoon, I wrapped up the religion book I was reading, N. T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God, so rather than immerse myself in something else for the next couple of weeks, I decided to start on the sabbatical reading.
And first up I wanted to read Michael Ignatieff's On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. Ignatieff's book seemed a good place to start after two years of navigating the church through the pandemic. And the last two years of my marriage ending and getting divorced. Since this sabbatical is in many ways a chance to rest and recenter and heal from those experiences, consolation is a good place to begin.
Somewhere I'd read a review of the book that interested me. Plus I had read his last book, Ordinary Virtues, near the beginning of the pandemic and had really liked it.
So, seeking consolation to get a head start on this period of sabbath, I began reading and these sentences from the introduction resonated with me, and may help to set a theme for this season of life:
To be reconciled we must first make peace with our losses, defeats, and failures. To be consoled is to accept these losses, to accept what they have done to us and to believe, despite everything, that they need not haunt our future or blight our remaining possibilities.