Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 47.

I am tired. I am frustrated by inconveniences I could overcome before. I am distracted by issues that should never have arisen. I have more work to do than ever, it seems. And I am tired.

One of the difficult things about my experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is that it is often unclear what exactly has caused a worsening of symptoms.
Over the past couple of days, my cognition is increasingly clouded, my muscles feel inflamed and achy again, and I am so, very, tired.
This week with my congregation, I have been liaising with

Elders to coordinate care and connections with our most vulnerable and isolated Retired/ Associate Ministers for worship at home content for this Sunday Council chair on various matters from finances to staff to communication Office staff on logistical support for the congregation and other users of our property, especially communication 
I have been in communication also with individual members for pastoral care and helping to discern responses for their groups…


I cannot hold your hand today,
friend or stranger, when we meet. 
I take instead the rose’s leaf, ‘hold me’, it said,  ‘offer me your greeting.’ 
I cannot share embrace with you, kin or neighbour, in love and gratitude. 
I reach instead towards the sun, ‘come near,’ it beckons,  ‘receive from me this kiss.’ 
I cannot pick you up today,  young child in the circle of my care. 
I play instead with dirt and earth, ‘carry me’, the plants request,  ‘to new soil in which to grow.’ 

On being overwhelmed and seizing opportunity

The current situation of lock down, social distancing, covid19 precautions, is overwhelming, isn't it?

I am finding it too much to be on social media, for all the articles and opinions being shared. My inbox is full of emails from organisations with which I am connected, letting me know their plans and procedures in this time (full not least because one of the emails was sent to me multiple times from the same, and multiple, sources). Colleagues in the church are scrambling to develop alternative ways to do and be church, and sharing ideas and wanting to collaborate (friends, 1. I have chronic fatigue, so no, I'm not going to add to my workload, and 2. I already post a weekly prayer every Sunday, and have done for over three years: Pray the Story. check it out. they're there for you to use).

So there is information overload.

It is worrying, considering the impact on already frail and in many cases isolated members of my flock of this illness and the precautionary measures…

Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 46

Welcome back. Are you back on top of your game, now? You look well. It's good to have you back. 

I was back leading the gathered community in worship yesterday, and my people were glad of it. I was glad to be with them again, after two Sundays away.
I have some thoughts, on reflection, after this return.

At last ? 
I was slightly taken aback by the welcome back expressions that seemed to suggest I'd been away for a very long time. Then I considered, fair enough, I suppose. I've been with them for four Sundays since Christmas Day (because annual leave, study leave, sick leave followed one another quite quickly). Four times in almost three months is not very many times to see your minister in your weekly gathered worship.
But I was taken aback by this sense of me being back 'at last', because I don't feel like I've been away as much as they feel I've been away.
During my recent two week sick leave stint, I was in regular communication with the office, my m…

The ties that bind us together.

Homily for a wedding 

Why marry?

There’s the legal protection for this contract between two people committing to pool resources, be responsible for and to each other. Sure, the law offers protections to de facto couples, too, but there’s something privileged in the eyes of the law when it comes to being a spouse legally wed: the community and its systems automatically respect that contract.

Why? That why might be the actual why of humans choosing to marry.

There’s a kinship to our closest relationships, a not only legal, but deeply human, responsibility to uphold; a care to protect - in most cases this is the bond of blood
When we choose a partner to whom we extend the same care and responsibility, to replicate blood tie, we wed. We tie ourselves together. That’s what will happen in the vows Christian and Stephen will speak, not anything I do. look at the grooms : It is what you do as your words act to bind, to bond, you together.

I have read of past times and different cultures in …

Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 45.

A friend recently shared this Banksy piece of art. I resisted.

For a start, I am not 'tired', we are well beyond that. More, I am an expert at resting, one need only read these blogs to know I know how to rest, to discern when it is needed, to embrace it as gift and path to healing.
And I never quit. I spent a year contemplating the end of life as the only way to stop being in so much pain from depression, and I never drove into the tree on the way home, never moved from the chair at the kitchen table that night to act on any of my options. I spent three years pursuing a big goal on the other side of the world with little money, at times catatonic on my bed with despair and fatigue in response to the prolonged stress, and I only came home when the job was done. I have had glandular fever and very low iron on top of chronic fatigue now diagnosed and the depression still with me 24 years on, and I turn up for my people through it all. I do not quit.

I have come to see what my mu…

Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 44

My friend encouraged me to write lament through this experience of worsening Fatigue. It is a positive sign that I am writing, for writing is a path to healing for me. When I cannot write, I feel truly unwell.

lament of the chronically fatigued vicar
my people are gathering
and I am not with them;
the congregation together,
I on my own

your people will join
their voices in praise,
confess our collective turning away,
receive your welcome, your grace

your servant will sigh
her stilted praises,
reaching for joy, yearning for peace,
searching for you, alone

your people will sing
the Sacred Story,
hear it, proclaim it, commit
again to enact it, together

your servant will honour
your Story, her story,
in stillness
and the small piercing silence

my place with my people
stands empty today;
though another will speak,
only I can be me

the cost – the cost!
I count, and lose;
the gift, the gift
I would claim, I would

Oh Holy One,
hear my cry!
ease my pain,
help me remember

your people, as they gather –
you are with them;
though I …