I am approximately 1 month into my “new” gig. Can I just say that I’m exhausted? I know people (especially young adults) aren’t supposed to say that, but it’s true. Pastors aren’t to exude anything less than a super-human ability to be everywhere and do everything without trouble. “Yes, I’ll get that order of worship to you by today.” “I’d love to come to the game with you, thanks for the offer.” “I can definitely meet you for lunch to talk about that.” While most of the time, I do want to show up and be there for my students and my family, I have to say sometimes I am just exhausted. I’ll be brave enough to admit it.
The weekend before last I was in a good spot, truly I was. I had gone on retreat with my wonderful students and we discussed the idea that enough is enough. I have enough, I do enough, I am enough, and ultimately God is enough. I swear I was good with the whole deal. I truly felt that I was enough… but then Monday came along. I immediately found myself back in the hustle of “real life” thinking that I had left too much undone and had too little to give.
Even as I write this I can hear friends, mentors, and professors telling me to take better care of myself. Establish boundaries and stick to them. Good self-care makes for good pastors. Intellectually I know that, however, it has been a rough week. After a weekend away and the first road trip with students of the semester, I took Thursday off with the intentions of taking care of me. Yet, that time was interrupted by a call saying that my grandmother was in the hospital. She passed away the next day and this weekend was full making arrangements, visiting with family, and reminiscing on the life of my 90 year old Aunt Louise.
I come from a long line of introverts. Aunt Louise was perhaps the most notorious of them all. She loved animals, but people she could only deal with for so long. On holidays she would be the last to arrive even though she only lived a few minutes away- so she wouldn’t have to deal with idle chitchat I’m sure. She’d be the first one to go, too. Asking relatives to help her “escape” something that my sister heard numerous times beginning on her 16th birthday.
Aunt Louise had to be tricked into coming to her own birthday party last year because we were all fairly sure she would refuse if she knew how many people we were expecting. At the visitation and funeral, a few of us joked about how Aunt Louise would be having none of this small talk stuff or the crowds. She’d have been the first one to say goodbye, get back in the car, and head home (probably asking to do so 15 minutes before the funeral was actually over).
So, as I sit at my desk today thinking hard on how I am going to take care of myself this week, I recognize that I am feeling rather the worse for wear. And I know that’s okay. Today I’ll skip the small talk in memory of Aunt Louise.