It's strange how some things can play on your mind. I have had a bit of a sleepless night worrying about a decision I had to make yesterday. I had not received the information I needed prior to a meeting, and so have refused to go ahead with the meeting. Quite understandable, I hear some of you say, but the actual being up front, and assertive, and delaying a meeting until the new year was very much against my nature. Could I fit in doing the preparation before hand ? No. But I do feel as thought I have let people down by cancelling a meeting!
I suppose it's where we all draw the line at being reasonable. I had asked for information for the last month and it had not been forthcoming. Less than two days before a meeting was unreasonable. If I was delaying a meeting that would be unreasonable, but we have time on our side, so that is reasonable.
Maybe I am far too conscientious, always giving the benefit of the doubt, to others and going along with it. Yet by standing out I am the one who feels bad! Maybe too the guilt is coupled with the fact that I have had a get days off recently? Know harm in that anyway, but again I feel bad.
These are some of the dilemmas those in ministry feel quite often. The Christian way of putting others first gets us into all sorts of knots. We do not want to let people down, want to be always there, always responsive, always thought well of. Most of us want to work hard, get good results, and help things along. We want to work for good, even if it costs us.
And all of this is often at the expense of our friends and families, our work/life balance and our own health. Clergy stress is high.
Today at bishop's staff we are addressing some of these issues as we discuss how we can better care for our clergy and how we can be an example to them. Maybe, just maybe my own assertion that it is reasonable to cancel a meeting and the related feelings around it, with help us all encourage one another that reasonableness around a work/life balance is everyone's right and responsibility.
What if..... we all ceased to feel guilty about things that are unreasonable anyway?