A Sabbath I've Never Known (and Always Missed)

A poetic reflection on short sabbath I took last week at a dear friend's cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northwest, Georgia. stubborn hill, spinning tires, back it up, try it again. Focus, Feel...forward! Up it goes and forward I look... and there it passes by my right, unnoticed.

It will not scream out to me; it will simply wait to be found

for waiting is its only purpose, its only calling.

At the top I weave and wind, whither and wane as I shift and rev to return to a lane that I once wandered far and traveled upon alone and with courage.

I celebrate my victory for the briefest of moments and then remember that I have yet to find that which begs to be found.

Rain gently drums on my windshield and the wipers wake me from my thoughts. I could call, I could ask, but, no, this is the point, isn't it?

I return and slowly slide down that same stubborn hill. the first time, I had no choice but to speed for only momentum would do. But this time I creep, I crawl, my neck is free to turn my wandering head back and forth. My eyes squint and

there it is!

My heart leaps and I delicately turn into a sanctuary that I have never known and I have always missed.

I welcome the rain for it reminds me that I am alone. While others see it as dismal, distant, and dark, I feel it, in this moment at least, as soothing, as something that reminds me that things are in need of being washed away.

I am alone. I am welcome. I am known.

Here I was....here I am....here I will be.

I adjust to the quiet; it is, after all, alarmingly present. It isn't a simple thing going from an everything that is nothing to a nothing that is everything.

I walk around, it take it all it, or perhaps it takes me all in...I'll never quite understand.

The mist rolls over the mountains and the chimes, ever so gently, respond to the wind's subtle push.

You're here, it's time, let go, and listen their song so simply suggests. And I relent, and reluctantly retreat into nothingness and there abide for a while.


Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.