Let me begin with gratitude:
- Gratitude for a spouse and co-worker who recognized 6 months ago my level of fatigue, who in July said, “You need to take September off.”
- Gratitude for the Elders who heard my request with incredible care and compassion.
- Gratitude for the General Board who, on behalf of the congregation, accepted the Elders’ proposal to grant me time in September for self-care.
Self-care is something our culture both disdains and indulges. We don’t seem, as a collective, to comprehend the middle of it, the depth of it. “Self-care is a set of things people do to support their overall health and wellness (mental and physical). The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as the skills and abilities that people and communities have to support health, prevent disease, and to manage short or long-term illness and disability with or without support from another person, either a healthcare provider or other.” (Those Nerdy Girls Blog)
Self-care is the way each of us figures out how to stay healthy and well. That’s what I’ll be doing in September. I’ve been asked what I’m going to “do”. Doing is precisely what I don’t need to be doing. I preach and teach about the importance of being, of accepting who God loves us to be without having to produce something for God to approve. I just don’t practice that as well as I preach it.
The commitment I’ve made to self-care is a practice. I have committed to a daily practice of the Compassion Practice I teach. It will mean daily meditation, guided by this practice to grow in self-compassion and compassion for other people. It is a practice in which I engage perhaps weekly, but with much less intention than I’d like.
I am grateful for this time of retreat and hope to return renewed for the journey ahead, for the building we do together of a beloved community of belonging around the Table of Christ and the extension of that belovedness into the world.