As I write this, I’m sitting in the emergency room at Davis Hospital in Statesville. It’s been one year almost to the day since I was thrust into a national conversation surrounding race and Christian thought. It has been one of the most challenging and gratifying years of my life.
Today I’m writing about my health and some concerns that we have regarding my travel. I’ve been nonstop for the past year, traveling from California to Massachusetts to New York City to Washington DC. We have made some progress with things and for that I am proud. But that isn’t to say it hasn’t taken a toll on me.
My breathing capacity is compromised due to a recent tear in my lungs and honestly I am at my whit’s end. My wife and I, in consultation with a myriad of doctors feel it’s best if I start practicing self-care. Frank the poodle agrees too.
To further this, I have been receiving nasty emails from people whom I once respected and people I don’t even know about my comments surrounding Duke Divinity School in my last blog post. This has taken a toll on me as well. This isn’t to say I can’t “take the heat” from my friends and foes, “but after a while you get tired of the bull” as my mom eloquently put it. I have lost friends and colleagues who all thought I was grandstanding on my views about race, a friend I love dearly doesn’t talk to me anymore because of this past year.
It’s with all this in mind, and in an effort to be transparent, I will not be taking any more speaking engagements or interview requests beyond that which is already on my calendar for the foreseeable future.
I am pursuing a PhD, teaching my classes at Appalachian, and working on marketing strategies for my book. I am also discerning my place in a denomination for continued practice of my ordained ministry— that list alone would make anyone tired and I’m starting to feel the side effects of that.
So, I’m going to borrow from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians and “make it my business to lead a quiet life” for the time being. I will continue to pursue book endeavors and hope to be preaching again in pulpits across this country in the new year. I hope that we will continue the good work started and I will continue to share book news, life news, and my thoughts from this platform. I just won’t be traveling to do it.
I hope you will understand and find some sense of empathy for my situation. I am forever grateful for your continued support and I look forward to fulfilling everything that I love doing most. The book will be released April 2, 2019, and we will be pursuing with a full tank on the beauty of what God has in store.
Please pray for me.
With every good wish,
The Rev. Robert W. Lee, IV