A few weeks ago I was so worn down I could never imagine anything. A funny thing happened on the way to the asylum. I got some inspiration. I had to do some work to get there, but I found some movement in the forward direction.
Some of you may already know that last Fall I hit a bad spot in my life, with depression, counseling and some mild anti-depressant medication. This was the first time in my life I had ever been on drugs for depression.Previously it was all contained to anti-biotics and asthma medications. I was welcomed into a better place in my life at the start of 2006, with a better outlook, no counselor and no drugs. I saw myself heading that direction again and realized something had to change.
The first thing that changed was my attitude. I decided I would actively fight to keep my mental health. Second, I had to make some choices about how. I know several things about myself, I am an active person who loves sports, watching and playing, and I am a verbal learner. I have to talk things out. From there, I took some actions.
I took some hikes with my dog, and I started playing soccer again. This really hits the spot. This morning my car is otherwise occupied otherwise I would not be anywhere near this computer at the moment, unable to type because I would be on the soccer pitch for a pick-up game. To that end I have even imagined the south field of the Del Rosa UMC lot transformed into a soccer field.
The other part of this striving for mental health took me down a new road for counseling. Counseling in itself is not a bad thing, but if you wind up with the wrong counselor or one who is not challenging enough then the whole thing may feel completely worthless. As for me I wound up with some very non-directive counselors, and wanted someone to bounce ideas off of, develop a collegiality with, and ultimately push me to do somethings that need to be done. I found this kind of counseling in a Spiritual Director, another pastor who will become my pastor.
The denomination and friends have been talking about all the pastors needing pastors forsome time. I am a pastor to four or five other pastors, in my congregation and elsewhere, so why wouldn't I need my own. I never claimed not to need a pastor, but always found an excuse not to have one.
For a period of time I had one built in, with the pastors on staff at the churches I served, who helped in that way. When I left those locations I didn't pick up with anyone new, and the distance really set back the role they had played in my life. So, I had to find someone new. I looked to my lectionary study group, but realized they did not meet often enough, and really were looking to utilize that group for the same purposes themselves. I needed to find someone whose agenda when we met would be me. The Spiritual Director I found serves as a priest at a local retreat center (El Carmelo) in Redlands.
But, you may ask how did this post come about...all your other posts have been so short or much more to a single topic, and it doesn't seem to have stretched into the realm you mention as the title of this post "Rest".
I was flipping through the revised UM Blogroll (Thanks again Shane!) and was reading. One other person had posted on rest, and the need for it. I realized what I was doing today, in forgoing a special District Event, put on by my sister no less, and something I need to know more about - Immigration and the Church, let alone the interest that brings up in me, was about rest. I can look at my schedule and see there aren't many breaks between here and then end of October, and I needed not to "do" church stuff today. I may yet get roped into things - I have a parishioner who is dying, and another who is in surgery today, not to mention the fullness of my sermon has not been rounded out.
Kudos to you for taking time to rest, restoring your mental health and finding another person to help guide you as a Spiritual Director of sorts. Thanks too for the reminder of its importance in my own ministry.