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Study Leave

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Jun 21 in Musings
For the twenty-second consecutive year, my covenant group from seminary met this week for our annual gathering. Our location changes every year- the main criteria is free rent. We've met in Scottsdale, Seattle, Whidbey Island, Los Angeles, Chattanooga and this year, San Diego. One friend's parents were on vacation, so we snagged their house. Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to cut my stay short, so I had only 30 hours. Here's what it looked like from a stream of consciousness standpoint:
 Anne and I up early Tuesday morning for a coffee date- our 36th! anniversary. Anne drops me at Union Station. Catch the Surfliner train going south. Anaheim, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Oceanside, Solano Beach. On the train, I work on the preaching calendar for July through December.  Read my daily Proverb and journal a bit. Re-read a few parts of the book selected for discussion this year, Transcending Mission by Michael Stroope.

Arrive at San Juan Depot in downtown San Diego. My friend pulls up to get me curbside. Man hugs. Swing over to the airport to pick up our third compatriot- the fourth is AWOL.  Zip by Von's for a few food supplies. Upon arrival at the house, sun breaks through the June gloom. Slip on bathing suits and hit the pool for a couple hours. Discuss (argue) for awhile about the book, and start sharing high and lowlights from the past year. One friend is a pastor, the other a New Testament professor. Jump in the hot tub and keep talking. Laugh. Oops. Time has slipped by and we have an appointment. Quick snack and shower, out the door to...Petco Park, home of the Padres. We are all big baseball fans, so nothing better than talking over a hot dog and beer dinner while waiting for the game to start. Laugh. Nice night. Padres blow game at the end, painful to one friend, but- hey, I'm a Dodgers fan. More talk. Go to sleep at some point. Up early Wednesday. I run up part of Mt. Soledad and circle the giant cross and Veteran's Memorial at top. Back home. Head to beach, walk to a breakfast cafe. Vegetable scramble and coffee. Leisure. Talk for a long time, ask important questions. More coffee. More talk. Drive to Balboa Park, stroll the grounds. Sun breaking through the grey. Sit on a bench and talk. Drive to the waterfront and walk until it's time for a snack. Split a fish and chips order three ways. Share things that have been hard since we last gathered. Get a tour boat ticket for an hour-long cruise of the south harbor. Talk. Laugh. Motor under the Coronado bridge. Learn about the many Navy ships. Back to the car. Drop me at the train station. Hugs, love to wives and kids, tentative plans for 2019. Prayers. Back on the Surfliner, northbound. Do more sermon work and write Musing. Solano Beach, Oceanside, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Irvine, Anaheim, Union Station. Anne picks me up. San Diego time too short. So rich. Wouldn't miss it. My Proverb from Monday: "A friend loves at all times..."  Yes.
                         
See you soon,
      
       Pastor Dan

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