MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS–TRIAGE AND SABBATH

I haven’t posted in two weeks, which is the longest stretch I have ever gone on this blog.  Reflective writing is one of the joys of my life, but the last two weeks have militated against this simple pleasure.  By profession I am the pastor of a middle-sized Protestant congregation in the Middle Atlantic region of the US.  By calling I am a teacher and mentor for people who are seeking to follow Jesus, and a coach for people who use their gifts in leadership.  But at times, because of the needs–both real and perceived–of my flock, I am a combination father figure, crisis manager, agent of confrontation, and church mother.  That has been pretty much what I have been doing these past two weeks, especially the past eight days.

By preference and experience, I prefer to work with intentionality–being proactive, not reactive.  By situation, I sometimes simply work by triage. Like a doctor in the ER, I take everything (and everyone) who comes through the door, quickly identifying those in critical and/or life threatening situations–and go to work with dispatch.  Most of time I am simply stopping the bleeding and patching the holes.  Like an ER doctor I try not to deny help to someone who is behaving either stupidly or unwisely.  I try to remind them while they are being treated that they should have handled this sooner before it became an emergency.  I try to issue a prescription that will bring some immediate relief to the symptoms; but also the counsel to find a healthier pattern for living.  That usually means to stop doing things that are harmful and unhealthy, even though they want to do those things.  And, as a pastor, I pray for them – for their healing and for their maturing.

People who do triage expend a lot of energy–emotion and physical, and need to take a break or their skills become muted by weariness and their judgment undermined by speed.  In my profession, we call that a sabbath.  In my case, I am about to take a sabbatical – an extended period for rest, reflection, and renewal.

During that Sabbath, I hope to get back into a rhythm which helps me thrive.  It’s the reflective, creative writing that I am privileged to do as a blogger.  Two weeks from today that Sabbath begins.  Pray I get there in a healthy manner.  Enjoy the fruit of my rest when I start wielding again keyboard and mouse.

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