Another of our debrief exercises was called Start/Stop. It goes like this:
"Finish these two statements:
"When I return home I want to START doing…
"When I return home I want to STOP doing…"
The caveat is: “The thing(s) you list should be specific and able to be done where you are right now, not ‘someday.'"
For our students, we are hoping they can find their way into vocational choices, maintain spiritual practices, implement theoretical teachings. For staff, the answers might look a bit different. Like: “I want to start emptying my inbox…stop eating so much pasta…start my exercise routine again…stop sleeping on a hard bed." As for me, a clutter of thoughts emerge immediately:
I’m quite happy to STOP the packed schedule, crazy busy-ness, intense concentration, and endless preparation of power points. I’m ready to STOP living in intense community (much as I loved so many parts of it) and regain some privacy and solitude. I want to STOP being task-driven and spend more time cultivating relationships. I want to stop fighting with intermittent internet, but not trolling Facebook to see how our students are doing now, post-Incarnate.
I want to START a normal life and schedule. I want to start revisions on my book; start the publication schedule and marketing process of my new poetry book. Start contacting publishers for my completed contemplative photography book. Start fleshing out a new idea for a book, or at least outline the idea and hold it till I get settled into more of a routine.
I want to START walking into the next transition, START looking for a new home, and develop stability in the next season. I want to STOP the itinerant lifestyle and ministry as it’s been, and START ministry as it’s being revealed.
Now that I’ve been back almost a week, it’s interesting to START cooking again, after relying on the cafeteria. I’m looking forward to getting my car back—to STOP relying on others for a ride, or my legs for a long walk. I can START catching up on so many phone calls, now that I have STOPPED “Airplane mode” on my phone!
As the weeks and months roll on, I expect a few more starts and stops. The Road Back is a roller coaster, but I have STARTED and will not STOP till I’m adjusted!