I have just spent 6 months away from my work. My church graciously granted my request for a 6 month leave so that I could deal with my father’s terminal illness and his death. Except for maternity leave (not really down time BTW!) this is the longest I have not worked outside the home. It has been a good time away. And I am so happy to be returning to work.
I learned some things during this time. One, I am totally not ready for retirement. Good thing since I don’t think I am close to retirement age. Second I learned that I need to change some of my habits.
And so I’ve started something new. I am actually claiming a day off. Working in a church offers me some wonderful flexibility in my schedule. If I need to be at my children’s school for something I can do that. I can run household errands on a day besides Saturday (I really dislike Saturday crowds). This is a wonderful perk of my position.
The downside of the flexibility is that I can really be always “on”. This has always been the case for ministers. Their time is not their own and a crisis or sudden need of a congregation member can interrupt a day off, vacation, or even a trip to the grocery store.
I might sound like I am whining but really I am not. There are upsides and downsides to being a minister. And for me the upsides outweigh the downsides. Being part of a covenanted community is an honor.
But I have come to a place in my life where I crave some time lived a different pace, lived in a different way. And so I am claiming a day off. Sunday evening is really like my Friday evening, and so Monday will be my day off as I return to work. And on Mondays I will not go on Facebook, or social media, I will not answer emails, I will stay off the phone.
I tried this on this past Monday and it went quite well. The world did not fall apart, my children did not run amok. I was able to put the to do list aside for the day. It did allow me to breathe a little deeper. I got things done just not with the relentless beat of the todo list in my head. I did spend some time in the spiritual practice I call puttering. I like my electronics and my gadgets. But I found that taking a little time away from them helped me to slow down just a bit. I found it re-creative.
I am looking forward to next Monday!