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I’m Rev. Jess Chancey, filling in for John as he is away on sabbatical, getting some much-needed rest.
Doesn’t that sound lovely? Rest. We could all use more of that in our lives. And yet, how many of us actually make time for it? In all the busy-ness of life’s varied demands, who has the time to press pause? It’s definitely hard for me, between working full time as a hospital chaplain, serving as one of two co-chairs for UCC Disabilities Ministries, and pursuing my doctorate. But it’s one of those bizarre yet true things: that we can plug away, doing doing doing, and yet if we pause, for just a short bit, we will come back far more focused and productive than if we’d pushed through.
If we want to be as fruitful in our calling as possible, we need to take breaks and practice that wonderful thing called self-care. And I don’t just mean stopping to catch a TV show, though I would never begrudge anyone a chance to catch up on Star Trek. I mean finding ways to truly recharge our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. I know that John practices physical self-care by taking bike rides, by going out on the lake in his kayak, or by playing soccer with his family. Me, I like to walk my dog, and practice my tricks on the flying trapeze. For mental self-care, there’s books, puzzles, any number of things to give your brain a chance to have fun, or even turn off for a nap break. How can you care for your spirit? How’s your prayer life? Maybe you can try meditation, or maybe there’s something that will recharge some combination of the physical, mental, and spiritual.
I actually find my aforementioned trapeze practice very spiritually fulfilling because it’s just such a great metaphor. I jump off the platform, relying upon my strength and coordination to throw a trick, but at the end I have to let go and trust that there’s something bigger than me, waiting to catch my fall. Every time I trust that net to keep me safe, I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to take risks in my calling, knowing that I’m safe in God’s hands. And I carry that knowledge with me back to the hospital, into the next patient’s room, ready to bring fresh ears and a renewed heart to share that space with them.
I come back refreshed because I took the time to care for myself. May we all learn to stop every now and then, press pause for a moment, to come back refreshed and ready to continue on this, our journey into the mystic.