Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 21.

I wrote last about adjusting the rhythms of my daily life, for the new circumstance brought about by this exhaustion. I have had to adjust my expectations about life in this new city, too.



After the intense and intentional connections with many communities and activities in my first year in Edinburgh, I had thought to do the same in Canberra.
But my work is different here, and my energy and attention was needed for getting to know the parish and the people I serve.
My health is different now; the energy I had at the start of the PhD is no longer.
My story is different after three years in Scotland, after earning 'Dr', after returning home, but not to my home town. I have a wide and scattered network of friends, and less need for a big circle here.

I shall not berate myself for being immersed in my community of faith - the wisdom is that this can become unhealthy for ministers, without the balance of relationships beyond the congregation. Rather, I will embrace this as a gift and trust the wisdom of my experience to know that this is how I am whole and healthy: embedded in community.

I shall not berate myself for not joining the groups I thought I would. Rather, I will be grateful for the several friends with whom deep friendship seems likely; for the colleagues in this lively and healthy presbytery with whom mutual support and encouragement began the moment I arrived; and I will put my energy into those relationships.

I shall not berate myself for not doing the walking I have done in the past and thought I would again. I shall instead attend to the yearning to be in the water, and find a way to put swimming into my days; I shall, instead, move gently through my gardens indoor and out, put my hands in earth, stand in the sun there.

There are rules for life as a minister, and they are in place for good reason: we have a tendency to burn out. I am learning that the main rule is to do what we need in order to be healthy and whole.
So I am making my own rules, trusting my own rules, which are informed by the wisdom of my church and the wisdom of my experience and the knowledge of my self.
My hope is that these rules, this rule of life I am building, will be an embrace of circumstance for the gifts it offers, and thus be a path to fullness of life.

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