Tuesday saw us return from a wonderful week long break in Devon. It was everything we hoped it would be. It was a week of total switch off, the first for me in eight months, and I hadn’t realised just how much it was needed. Of course, any busy person returning from a break will tell you that taking time out then means playing days of catch up!
Inevitably, since arriving home my desk has gradually filled with numerous ‘To Do’ post it notes.
I actually came back with every intention of purposefully taking time off each week and trying to reduce my workload (I’m only contracted to work two days a week plus Sunday) but, like so many, I realise that simply doesn’t get the job done. There aren’t enough hours in those days to do properly what that the role entails!
So what do I do to ensure I don’t undo all the benefits the past week has given me? One practical thing I have done is to take my real, paper diary and physically strike out some full and half days in the weeks ahead, in the good intention to keep them work free. This isn’t something new, it’s something I’ve done many times before and something I continually aspire to!
I suspect, like so many parish priests, I live with a continual sense of duty, of wanting to be there for people whenever they might need me.
I am pretty sure that as far as I am concerned, part of this sense of duty and commitment goes back to an experience my mum had with our own Parish Vicar many years ago; in 1968 to be precise.
Following my youngest brother’s Baptism in October of that year, my mum asked the Vicar if he would mind going to see my grandad who was very ill in hospital, as she was convinced he would die that day – she told him that she’d dreamt it would happen following my brother’s Christening. His response was to inform her that she was being hysterical and to instruct her to go home and get on with her day and that he was doing the same and going for his Sunday lunch.
My grandad died later that day, without the visit and ministrations of his parish priest.
My mum turned her back on the church for over thirty years…
I never ever want to be that Vicar.
Jesus said ‘Come unto me all who are heavy laden…’ that for me means being there whenever the phone rings and the person on the other end is distressed. It may well be about a sick or dying relative or equally it may be the couple who are upset as they need to rearrange their wedding for the second or third time.
I know this view of my role increases pressure and workload, but I have realised that when things get really tough I trust in the fact that God will provide somebody that I too can turn to and lean on. I thank God for blessing me and sending me that person this week.
Trust that God will put that person in your path too. 💜