Thursday, July 23, 2009

When health trumps promises

Way last year, I welcomed a colleague into our pulpit as the first half of a pulpit exchange. She is the fulltime minister of a congregation about 400 miles away from here and was on her way to a gathering in the San Juan islands, so it was very convenient for her to preach for us one Sunday in October.

In return, we arranged that I would go to her church this weekend and preach for her congregation. Unfortunately, once I got home from my Eliot week, I started feeling ill. It began as a scratchy throat, progressed into congestion for a couple of days, and has now settled into a very very sore throat, untameable by even the strongest pain relievers or lozenges. So I am miserable---partly from the sore throat and partly from the need to cancel my weekend 400 miles away.

I hate to let people down. In recompense, I will send her a check for a speaker's fee, so that it feels more fair. But I'm reminded that when you do work like this, you have to make some hard choices. Fortunately, most congregations keep a folder of backup plans for such emergencies. My own congregation manages this sort of thing very well, as it did when my wayward retina forced me to cancel on them.

This isn't as drastic as a detached retina but it brings to mind the same lesson----health sometimes has to trump promises. It just bothers me a lot that this has happened to me twice now this year. I like to think of myself as having excellent health, high energy, and unlimited resources. At age 67, perhaps it's not as true as it once was.


LinguistFriend said...

Perhaps part of the effect is that you are just scheduling yourself more heavily so that you perceive health events as prohibitive when earlier they would just have been a routined nuisance. This issue and the retina are of quite different levels of significance in any case.

ms. kitty said...

You're right, LF, I have taken on a lot of outside gigs this year, traveling to Woodinville every month, jamming my reunion and the Eliot week into one long 10 day block of time, and then following up on its heels with the Roseburg trip. I have learned that I hate being overscheduled and that there are some things I can let go of if circumstances dictate. Thanks.

plaidshoes said...

I hope you feel better soon. Take it easy and put your feet up! ;-)

ms. kitty said...

Went to the doc this afternoon and verified that it's just a sore throat, not strep. So that's good news.