Friday, September 30, 2005

Days off that aren't

Great, now I am sick. After too many too long days the inevitable has happened and I hit the wall. It has happened before, and I am not so lacking in mindfulness that I can't cede the fact the when my body tells me to slow down, the response is non-negotiable. Still, I would have preferred the opportunity to NOT be sick at this particular point in time. Worse yet, I am sick in my gut. According to legend, the Shelly men have always had a "sour stomach" in times of stress. I don't think my great-grandfather went anywhere very far from an outhouse during the Great Depression, when as a shopkeeper he took his little Michigan village through the hard times on a barter system. I don't think my Dad did well leading up to his dissertation defense. I had the worst time in chaplaincy training in seminary...And, to quote a friend who was visiting today, "Dude, I don't even remember you being this bad during GOE's! (General Ordination Exams, for the layfolk)."

It's true. The body can only take so much stress. And then, IT decides to hit the reset button and remind you that there are only so many stress-checks that you are allowed to cash in any given season of life.

And tomorrow, it is busy. Gone be in three places at once...Men's Breakfast, then Usher training, then Altar Guild. All necessary. And I am still trying to do the job of two priests in one breath.

I wouldn't change a moment, believe me. But, I am also aware that there is only so much I can do.

Hardest part is when a ball bounces past and I simply can't bend down to catch it. That has happened twice in the past two weeks. One was something I had been putting off due to the financial crisis. The other is hitched to the fact that it is hard to get out of the office and out of meetings. I let my part of pulling together a group to analyze Trinity's commitment to some of its international outreach work lapse. That means disappointing people who have put a lot of work into making their parts happen. It can still be saved, but I didn't do my job.

The other lingers in my throat like a tickling cough. A dear parishioner is in the hospital, and another is waiting for me to call and check in on her. The problem with doing so much is that sometimes the essential things are impossible. Do I make pastoral calls when the church is failing financially? Or course, that is my ministry...But I have had more people come into the office simply to talk to me in the last ten days than I have had in the past six months. Some days, I haven't gotten home until after ten PM. My own fault...But where is the line going to be drawn?

The answer is obvious...Time for some self-care. Deficits don't just occur in operating accounts. They also occur in the way we treat ourselves. And then, when we find ourselves at our worst...The toxins release on others. Before I get there, I am going to get some rest.


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