Hello? Is this thing still on?
My absence has been due to a combination of factors. First, a fair number of things going on in my life really have not been bloggable; and when I'm trying not to talk about something significant, I find it's generally best not to talk at all.
Secondly, things have just been stupid busy here, so even when I have had things to share with you, I've not had time. My assistant took a 6-month medical leave of absence beginning February 1, so I'm flying solo in the region, clergy-wise. Even though Randy is normally only very part time, there is a very great difference between "a little bit of help" and "you're on your own, kiddo."
Adjusting to the new rhythm is a challenge. The parishioners are, for the most part, being very understanding, and I am learning where and how to set limits so they don't find me curled under my desk in the fetal position before he comes back. Plans and boundaries don't always work, of course-- the week before last was a 65-hour, 750-mile week even with a day off-- but it's much better this week. I'm working on developing a new pattern (well, as much a pattern as one can ever have in this gig), and getting quite stubborn about carving out breathing space. A trite saying, but 'tis true, and I've learned it the hard way: if I don't allow time to rest and recreate and all that, then I'm not much use to those I serve, or who depend on me. Stress-related migraines do not qualify as vacation days.
So that's my Lenten discipline this year: down-time as God-time. I am trying to make appointments with myself-- not as an afterthought, or to be squeezed in when other commitments allow (which they do not, willingly), but high on the agenda, as a priority line item. It hasn't happened every day, but I'm trying... and the world is a better place for it.
Speaking of which... it's bedtime.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.