10 days of vacation, what would you do? Here’s what I did: Time to see dear friends and family…5 days. Worked around the house…5 days. Spent time with Ruthann…the whole time. Did A LOT of Reading, Praying, and Listening to God. Value of the 10 days…PRICELESS!
Here is the skinny on what happened. Initially, the plan was to take 2 weeks and get away. However, after a recent wedding and a completion of a graduate degree, finances and a plan slipped through our fingers on this vacation. Our vacation quickly morphed into a staycation.
At first, I was bummed, then grateful for some much needed time out of the office and time with Ruthann.
The refreshment came as we spent time with friends and family and got out of the routine of “ministry work” and was able to complete some much needed “housework.” Note: the housework was painting exterior trim, repairing a back door where dry rot had settled in, and replacing several deck boards.
For some, this doesn’t constitute a vacation. But for me, at this time, it did. I’ll explain.
For 36 plus years my work environment has been filled with ministry work weeks. For those who maybe unfamiliar with what this entails here is a glimpse: each week is similar but very different because ministry is people. People who are both a joy to be around and then others who…I think you understand. The demands of a pastor can vary week to week with some surprising shifts. Shifts like, praying with someone who is discouraged, working on a message, to figuring out where the water is leaking from in a massive building during a torrential downpour. This actually happened the day before my time away began! There is also the little issue of keeping a church moving forward, following God’s mission,vision, and ministry all the while Sunday comes with amazing regularity and people expect certain things to be in place! Much of ministry is very fluid and not very concrete.
Recently, I had a conversation with a few younger pastors and I said: “I bet I can tell you one thing you do that you enjoy while others may think you’re crazy.” “What" they answered. “Mow the lawn” I said. Every person said a resounding “yes."
For some of you, you may think pastors who like to mow their lawns are crazy. We are crazy, but not for that reason! I love to mow my lawn because it’s one thing that when I put the mower away I can look back and see what I did. Ministry on the other hand can be so illusive on the “what did I accomplish” side of things, one begins to wonder if anything was accomplished. This staycation was one where some things got DONE!
But the main refreshment came in spending some much needed time with Ruthann and the reading, prayer, and listening to God. I have to admit, when my ministry life is a lot about reading, praying, and listening to God, I can become just a little cynical about that filling a vacation. However, this was different. This was God breathing life into me at a very critical time that I needed the refreshment. I am so grateful for the time “away.” And, energized by what God did in me. For those of you who attend Grace Church, there will be more about the refreshment in future messages. For the rest of you…I’ll share in future blogs.
One last thing: NO I AM NOT AVAILABLE TO MOW YOUR LAWN!