Posts Tagged ‘time off’

I’ve not written for a while as I’ve been away. I went on vacation, which was in two parts…the first part was to visit my Mam and some friends and then I brought my Mam with me to the second part of vacation in a place that is very special to me.

I had three things I wanted to do while I was away and foul weather trashed all three things. I’m disappointed but I figure I can always try again another time. Even still, I regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to stretch myself physically, something that I don’t do nearly enough.

My return to the parish was uneventful, a day spent driving in the rain. Once I was home, I walked past my laptop a few times, thinking that I should probably log on and check email. But I didn’t. I logged on Sunday morning before church and had 300 unread messages. Once I sifted through the cute emails, newsletters, status updates, and the like, I was down to roughly half. And I left it to go to work.

This morning I logged on again and started working through the list. I’m now down to 9, all of which require action, but not today. Today I’m going to be gentle with myself…

Yesterday after a hectic morning I cleaned the house and did six loads of laundry. Today I need to go to the grocery store. So very soon I’m going to log off for at least the rest of the morning and go get another cup of coffee. Then I’ll have a shower and get dressed, go to the post office and grocery store and then I may have a nap.

This is going to be a very busy week, and I want to be sure to be gentle with myself…because in Church Land there’s no such thing as easing back in to work.

That yoga mat looks pretty inviting…I think I’ll do some yoga today too.

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Sabbath Keeping

There has long been a history of Sabbath or literally “stop keeping”, whereby work ceases.  For many of us that means a day off or two, or perhaps more if we work shifts.  As a person in ministry there is often a perception that my main work is Sunday and the rest of the time I visit the hospital and have tea with old ladies.

Now, to be fair, there are times when I do have tea with old ladies, who have taught me more about having fun and living life gracefully than words can express.  But the “work” of clergy happens all the time.  It happens everywhere.  We don’t get breaks legislated to us.  We choose to take them, or in some cases, we don’t take any.  I tend to fall in the latter category where I get up in the morning, have a quick shower, get dressed, make coffee, say a few quick prayers and spend the day staring at a computer screen, reading, writing, organising my calendar, racing out to make a hospital visit, dropping by to provide home communion, grabbing unhealthy food from the drive-thru, then at last arriving home, exhausted and somewhat irritable that the house isn’t clean.  Check in with my spouse, remind my daughter about her homework and to pack her lunch, find something to eat out of the fridge and then off to bed which is restless and not refreshing.  

Needless to say, this is not a healthy way to live.

So I’ve decided to schedule my days and to try and keep by the schedule wherever possible.  Mondays are reserved for Bible Study and planning.  It’s also the day I begin homiletic preparation.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I keep office hours at the church and use that time to get administrative work done, check in with parishioners and keep myself focused for three hours.  If I have an evening meeting, I keep the afternoon free to do what I choose to do, be it housework, laundry, taking a walk, reading a book, meditating, etc.

Friday is my Day Off.  This is something new to me.  On Friday I don’t check email, unless I’m waiting on something personal.  I take the day slowly.  I may or may not do housework.  I spend quality time with my family.  And I will on occasion, have lunch with a friend.  Some of my friends are clergy and we have a rule…when we meet for lunch, we don’t “talk shop” unless previously agreed.  And if we are meeting on a Friday, the rule is strictly enforced.

Balance is something that has been sorely lacking in my life, and although it’s early days, I’m enjoying the “found time”.  I’m enjoying not feeling rushed, even though my days are as busy as they ever were.  And I’ve kicked guilt to the curb.  I know what I do with my day.  So does God.  And that’s good enough.


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