He came home from the church early yesterday.
I packed a picnic supper and we drove an hour north to the town he was raised in.
There's a beautiful lake with a park and walking path surrounding it in the center of his hometown.
The weather was cloudless, sunny and just the right temperature, not too hot, not too cool.
We walked around the lake, then drove to a store to get some rolls to go with the chicken salad I had in the cooler.
Back at the lake, we chose a bench to sit on.
We assembled our chicken salad sandwiches on the chewy pretzel rolls I had just purchased.
Two ducks waddled toward us and I was sure they were about to bother us, begging for scraps.
Instead, they found a piece of bread crust left on the ground by some other picnicker,
and decided to leave us to our impromptu feast.
We sipped on cold diet Cokes and the Hubs helped himself to seconds of the sandwiches
while I munched on some fresh strawberries we had brought along as a healthy dessert.
It was after we were done eating that something struck us both as funny.
We both got to laughing, the kind of laughing where it feels like you just can't stop.
Tears welled up in our eyes.
It was then that I realized just how weary he is and how much we need a vacation.
It has been too long since we both belly laughed like that.
Our conversations are too full of church and challenges and people and problems.
It's difficult to find the balance.
It's all too easy to get so wrapped up in the lives and struggles of people in our congregation,
in the daily challenges of church leadership,
that we lose touch with ourselves.
Sometimes, it takes leaving the problems at the church office and coming home early.
Sometimes, it takes packing a picnic and driving out of town,
Sometimes, it takes sitting on a park bench in the sun, laughing until you cry.
Sometimes, it takes something as simple as that to find ourselves again.
For a few precious hours, we were more than a pastor and pastor's wife.
For a few precious hours, we were just us.