Showing posts from November, 2018

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 18

I have entered the tension zone: feeling a little better and tempted to do the things, yet still finding the doing of things to be exhausting beyond reasonable expectation.

This morning I unpacked a few parcels that were delivered, did some dishes, and updated my other blog for a new liturgical year and season. Those small, gentle, tasks had me falling asleep in the chair by the window by 11am. Small amounts of energy do not go very far, and I seem not to have the requisite amount of patience this phase of the healing demands.

I live at present in the tension zone on several fronts, actually. For I am gifted with a congregation who cares, and has an approach to pastoral care that is mutual, reciprocal (rather than leaving the responsibility in the hands of the few, elected elders, called ministers). So they take seriously their charge to care, and many members have been asking, what can we do to help Sarah?

My colleague has encouraged people to accept that the best thing they can do i…

After. How long? A prayer for the hurting.

Sometimes I pray by colouring, because there are no words.

Sometimes when I pray by colouring, the words arise.

Sometimes poetry says what everyday ordinary words cannot speak.

This prayer, this poem, is dedicated to the people who are hurting: the ones being spoken about, vilified, dehumanised, by the ungenerous lack of acceptance of two views of marriage agreed to by the national council of our church by some members of our church.

This is my prayer. Leanne and Susan, the tears are for you, the hope is for you.

After. How long? For Leanne and Susan, and the multitude 

a rainbow canvass
after dark, together
reflect me, together, hark.

a rainbow promise
after rain: never,
never, will I flood again.

a rainbow kin-dom
after me to follow
my Way of rainbow
promise, and love, and light
in the dark

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 17.

While my communities gather for worship on this sunny spring Sunday morning - I can hear them singing next door - I continue at home on orders of complete rest.

This week, I received the results of the blood tests, which show that the glandular fever of earlier in the year has returned.
On the one hand, this diagnosis is a relief. You may recall from earlier episodes, I was not happily anticipating a diagnosis of chronic fatigue, another chronic illness to manage, naming an expectation of ongoing exhaustion and fragility for who knows how long. Glandular fever has slightly more potential for leaving sooner, and leaving me alone.
On the other hand, this diagnosis is only marginally better than one of chronic fatigue. The treatment is the same: actively do nothing so as to let the body rest and heal itself. The potential for lingering long term is real. The connection with chronic fatigue is well known, and either can lead into the other. And if chronic fatigue is a contributing factor,…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 16

Catalogue of feeling.

Foggy. My mind cannot see, cannot think clearly. My mouth speaks only slowly, slightly slurred, sounding vague.
Tired. Goes without saying, I suppose, with this diagnosis. It is a heavy tiredness, a weighted blanket that gives no comfort.
Stifled. Creativity smothered, will depleted. I do not recognise me.
Wishful. I wish this would go away. I wish I could return.

Achy. Headaches and old aches I thought long gone. Muscles. All the muscles. It hurts to move, to be still, to breathe. It hurts. To breathe.
Lonely. Not that I want to see anyone, I have no capacity to be, to receive, company. But I am, utterly,

Bored. So I shop, online, spend more money than is wise. It does bring other humans to the door, when they bring the things, brief moments of connection requiring little effort, and then ...
Grateful. Brief moments of connection from friends sending messages asking nothing in return knowing nothing is all I have to give them in this moment.
Hope. Tiny gl…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 15.

Three days into two weeks of enforced rest, I have achieved a lot. A lot of sleep, that is.

I have completed a jigsaw puzzle, too. Done some cross stitch, watched some tv shows and movies, did some shopping on line, washed dishes a few times, answered emails and texts and messages from, and talked on the phone with, lovely people who care about me, and today I have even managed to put some sheets and towels through the wash and hang them on the line to dry.

Those are the small things we do every day, mostly, without even thinking about it. But.

I feel flat, depleted, and still so incredibly tired.

I ache, from my glands to my head and my muscles all over.

I have achieved a lot.

But not what I need to, not yet. I have not yet begun to heal, to recover some energy and clear thinking and sense of wellbeing.

Two weeks of complete rest sounded a lot on Monday in the doctors’ surgery. Three days in, I’m beginning to think she might have been right.

To see dignity. Changing perceptions. A Midweek Musing.

Sometimes I talk with friends about how others see us, and how we can feel on the outer with our peers as unmarried and / or unparenting women. In one such conversation I remember wondering if our situation changed, how would others' perceptions of us change? If I got married, had children, would they see me as less of an anomaly, now that I was following society's 'script' for me? I wonder.

It got me thinking, more broadly about others' perceptions of me, and how I have changed my thoughts on that. In the past, I have been annoyed if I have felt unseen, or seen through or as something other than my own filters, understanding, picture, of myself.
Now, I am curious, intrigued by what others see that I cannot, from where I stand.

In the past, I might have felt I had to change to fit the pictures others have of me. Now, I feel free to look, from their point of view, and choose to agree, disagree, to change and how I will change, for myself.

Is it turning 40? Certainly…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 14

So here we go again.

I thought I was getting better. I thought we had identified the problem. Glandular fever, low iron.

Six weeks of tonsillitis.

Small hiccough. I woke a few weeks ago feeling well again, feeling like myself again. Ready for life again.

It took me by surprise that I collapsed in a heap, energy completely depleted, this week. Are my energy reserves really so low still that a week of four special services with complicated preparations knocked me over? Granted, there have been difficult situations requiring careful negotiation in recent weeks. That takes energy. There has been much to write, reports and newsletter articles requested, sermons and stories and liturgies. That takes energy.

But I was starting to socialise again, making new friends, getting out of the house in the evenings.

And I was starting to walk again, half hours of moving, breathing, solitude with God and nature.

Then I heard myself starting to sound panicked: at the staff meeting, joking a couple of t…