Monday, May 12, 2008


is not easy for me. I like my work too much to put it on the shelf for very long. Even in the checkout lane of the grocery store I seem to have my minister antenna out and I notice things---whether the checker looks harried or whether a parishioner I see among the salad fixings hasn't been at church for awhile. I find it hard to turn it off.

So after yesterday's wonderful, exhausting service, I looked at today's calendar page and thought, "I don't have anything I HAVE to do tomorrow. So, I'm not going to get up and hustle off to the gym; I'm going to take a walk over at SW State Park instead. I'm going to make a rhubarb crisp with the wonderful rhubarb that my garden has produced. I'm going to ..... well, what am I going to do with myself if I don't get busy on this coming Sunday's order of service or write a board report or a newsletter article?" I wasn't sure how the day would develop if I didn't work.

But I decided I needed to do it. There are very few days when I don't do something work-related. I think about sermons in the car; I answer emails from parishioners; I'm "working", in some way, much of the day, even if it's only thinking. Today I put church stuff on the shelf as much as I could and just did things for myself and my own restoration.

Of course, the haircut I was looking forward to became a chance to talk with Amy, who goes to our church and whose little boy was dedicated yesterday, so I guess I did do a little.

But mostly, I have been successful in putting church matters out of my mind today. I have put off writing my board report until tomorrow, even though that's later than I normally do it, since the board meeting is Wednesday. It won't hurt. And the O/S for Sunday is already pretty much done and doesn't need to be sent to our administrator until Wednesday. I can put off writing the homily until later as well, since there are other speakers besides me on Sunday and my part is smaller than usual.

It's felt good. Tonight Trilogy rehearses here at my house so I don't even have to go anywhere.

But it does remind me that I need some other sources of self-care besides the good feeling of a job well done. I want to get in the habit of doing things for myself, things that don't necessarily cost anything (like a walk in the park) but are just done for my own pleasure. I guess today was a start. I am well aware that it will take some effort on my part, because it's so important to me to be "useful". Spending time on myself---is that useful? I may have to reframe my ideas of usefulness.

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