Today's theme is (again) appropriate as I am back at work after having been out sick for two days. In today's reflection Christine talks about the importance of being present in our work. I'm struggling with that right now. Today for the obvious reasons--I'm still under the weather and it's hard to focus on anything other than that. But it's bigger than that. I really love what I do, in both my vocations. Both being a therapist and a priest are, as Christine says, meaningful and creative for me, both feed my soul and help me to feel that I am being co-creative with God as part of something so much bigger than myself. In both I feel that I have the opportunity to use my own gifts as well as to bring something to others. I know that this is a gift and blessing and not to be taken lightly. Nonetheless, I have been struggling lately. I have in my day job a touch of "compassion fatigue," I think. This is the longest stretch in my career in which I have done therapy without a break and I think it may be taking a bit of a toll. There are also some workplace factors that add stress. Funding cuts that demand that we all do more...and more....and more, and some of the politics of the workplace that have never been my thing, but that I have to deal with nonetheless. In my priest life too I have found that I have lost a bit of the excitement that characterized that first couple of years. There too...a little bit of "just tired" and a bit of wrangle fatigue are taking a toll. I'm really trying to identify some ways to inject some new life into both of my beloved vocations. My solution in the past when things got kind of wane-y or stale was to "do something" which usually meant take something on, add a project, a group, volunteer for something. I have no desire to do any such thing at this point. My actual inclination is to lie low and do little. I'd love to be able to take a sabbatical....but alas, therapists and non-stipendiary clergy don't seem to be doing much of that. We do have clergy conference next week. And our new bishop is structuring it to be much more like a retreat. So perhaps there will be some refreshment there. And there will be change in the future....though we don't know just what shape that will take. But it will be a new and different way and place to do this work of mine.
In the meantime, I like the suggestion about having "...gratitude for the chance to do work which supports you." Gratitude has been a powerful and helpful focus for me in the past when I needed to get myself to a better place. And I am grateful that I found, late in life, as it turned out, two vocations to love, two things that I actually would do for love not money, two things that support me in so many ways. Looking ahead I see that the next topic (since I am now a day behind myself) is "Sabbath." Maybe if I get a little better at finding the balance there, along with remembering to be grateful I will be more open again to how much I really am blessed by work.