I hate being sick. Man, I mean I hate it.
When sickness comes, as it did a week or so ago, I’m reminded of some of the worst parts of me. When I’m sick, I become something other than the wonderfully cheery guy you all know me to be ☺. (I know, I’m rolling my eyes on that one, too).
I find that I’m more like the sick dog who hides under the porch. You reach in at your own peril. I don’t like that about myself – but when I’m sick, I don’t really care.
I don’t feel well. I am not well. I don’t like not being in control of my day. I don’t like having to ask for help. I had to call my DS and ask for his help because I was sick. I’ve never had to do that before, and part of me was embarrassed that I had to.
What’s the proverb about pride? Hmm.
When sick, the “ought’s” and “have to’s” of life pile up. And with that comes added pressure, because those things don’t go away, they just get delayed.
It’s usually not until something halts life’s pace, that we take stock of the rhythm we’re living in the first place. And when that happens to me, I get all existential.
There’s an element of this that’s part and parcel of changing work places anyway. New context, new people, new staff and ministry team, same mission—and the passion, if not obsession, to prove in these first few months, that I’m up to the challenges and opportunities this appointment brings.
When your pace comes to an abrupt halt – and you realize that you really don’t wear Superman’s cape (and you also recognize that everybody else sees that you don’t either), what’s left is the reality of who you are.
And who am I? A very imperfect person, with gifts and graces for ministry, and a heart willing to serve, and willing to go where sent.
I’m a person of promises and vows – and while they take different character, they are all based in promises to God.
I took vows at ordination.
I took vows at the altar with my wife.
I took vows at the baptismal font for myself and on behalf of my children.
I cannot faithfully attend to one and give the others short shrift. I’m only as good a pastor as I am husband and father – and each of these God promised relationships requires the best of me.
When I’m forced to stop, I realize some reorienting is in order. And soon.
I hope it doesn’t take illness for you to take stock. But if it comes, and when the fever breaks, let it be an opportunity to reclaim balance in what matters most.