So I checked in at the church building on Foursquare the other day and this happened:
52 straight weeks I've checked in at the church where I work. That's not good.
I love my job. I love preparing sermons, teaching Confirmation, reading thoughtful works of theology, being present at bedsides and funeral homes and hospital rooms. It's a privilege and a joy. Just last night we invited our Council and Committees to a barbecue at the parsonage and had a lovely night together. Even the tough stuff is holy and important and fills me with deep awareness of how incredible this work can be: the heartfelt conversations, the concerns shared by folks who are troubled by new directions, the painful moments when it becomes apparent someone has serious problems with where God is calling the church to go. None of what I do is easy or superficial or meaningless. And because of that, sometimes I forget that taking time away and recharging is important. Apparently, I've forgotten to do that this year.
We've done some time away this year. We had a lovely week with my family in Nebraska back in June. We've been camping a couple of times, once with my sister-in-law and her family in Minnesota. But a good old-fashioned multiple-week break where we just stop for a while and get away? Nope. We haven't done that, and that's not healthy. My father-in-law says that it always took him at least two days to fully unplug from the church, and the last two days of a vacation would be filled with thinking about what was on the docket when he returned, so he usually threw and extra week into the vacation just to be sure he and his family really could focus on being together and being away.
Catching a quick break now and again is great. But a catnap isn't really sleep, and a day off isn't really a vacation. We're already planning next year's summer vacation, and this check-in has reminded me to make it a good, long vacation without a sermon to prepare or a hospital visit to make. Not because those things are unimportant, but because I'll be healthier and more able to do those important things better if I'm adequately rested and recharged by good time away.