"Then Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went abroad; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last one night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise..."
The destruction of the Ring of Power did for Frodo what Kirsten's birth is doing for me. I am only now beginning to understand how truly revolutionary are the ramifications.
As I get older my admiration has increased for those like Frodo--souls who, to quote St. Maximus the Confessor, "understand the created essence of things" and because of this illumination know that, as Ecclesiastes notes, God "has made everything beautiful in its time yet He also has put eternity into man's mind."
There is an important "both/and" at work here. There are many places, such as the Shire, where good friends, stimulating discussion and community can be found. Yet there comes a point where, in spite of (and, paradoxically, because of) these things, one must leave for "white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise..."
It is this philosophy that forms the foundation for my decision to take an extended sabbatical from St. Stephen's Musings.
Since November of 2002, I have spent countless hours constructing posts, expressing ideas, and responding to comments. For the most part, I have found blogging a very positive experience. Some of my best writing can be found in the archives of this blog. I've been able to wrestle with the topics of the masthead in ways I would have never been able to otherwise. I've corresponded with and met amazing, talented, and insightful people because of blogging and my life would be impoverished without them.
For quite some time, all that is good about blogging was persuasive enough to stave off what I always knew to be inevitable. But life beyond the Middle Earth we call "the blogosphere" always beckons, and the intensity of this call has grown to the point where I can neither ignore nor postpone action any longer. Kirsten's birth, in some ways, is merely the catalyst.
There is a life of deeper prayer to develop, battles with passions to more fully engage, a growing list of books to read, a university degree to hopefully finish, Latin students to teach, long walks to take...and, of course, a wife and newborn daughter to love and cherish. At this point I am faced with the hard truth that I am unable to give my best to these endeavors and vocations while simultaneously meeting the demands facing me as the man behind St. Stephen's Musings.
I'll still be regularly reading many of the blogs on my roll, and you'll no doubt see me in the commenting threads from time to time. Chances are, I'll be back blogging regularly again in the near future.