Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Optimism

I have for years been, and have often been labeled, an optimist.

Some of that, I think, is based on the fact that I am a profound extrovert. I am charged up by being out and amongst people, and when it is time to wind down my impulse is to go out. At least, that is the way it has been for the better part of my life. However, now I am beginning to see the virtue of quiet time, decompression time, time for being apart, retreating from the bustle for a moment. Batteries tend to recharge in a different way, I am finding, when they get a chance to rest and NOT try to put out their charge while new energy is infusing their cells.

To enlarge the metaphor, see it this way: Laura and I picked up our Prius from the collision center yesterday. Some may know this, others may not; but a true hybrid car does not need to rest to recharge. Actually, it has to charge on the go. Momentum generates energy which is then recaptured in car's battery and then sent into the drive shaft to create more momentum. This is fine for cars. Not so good for people. We need to rest to recharge.

I forget that too often.

Even the greatest human exemplar Christians call their own, Jesus, took time to be apart, to pray, to sit with friends with his feet up, to be at rest. We get the part about his busy-ness about proclaiming the inbreaking kingdom of God, so why is it so hard to remember that he also took time-outs? How do we talk ourselves out of allowing that time away, that time apart?

So, I am beginning to doubt that extroverted optimism is my own "rule of life." I think I need to take a bit more time for me and mine, to step away when the day ends and allow some quiet. Not an easy thing in the life of the Church, as the rector of a parish. During seasons of change, during stewardship, during fall outreach and social events, during preparations for baptism, classes, etc., the temptation is to overdo, overwork, overwean.

I am not a hybrid, though some might argue with that self-diagnosis.

I am a happy person, but extroverted optimisim is something I think I am going to lay down for a while. Time to tend to me and mine, and to love my wife, my family and my parish...But not to overdo.

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