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Those "can't-I-just-go-to-the-beach-and-stare-at-the-waves" feelings...



I had the good fortune of having a great mentor (The Rev. Andrew Merrow) in my first job in ordained ministry right out of seminary (at St. Mary's, Arlington). And of the many words of wisdom he passed on to me in my four-and-a-half years with him, there's one that I think about each year around this time:  

"Early June is the most dangerous time of the church year."  

What he meant by that is this:

The first few weeks of June is the time of year when the church "program year" (and for teachers and students, the school year) is winding down.

In most churches, the busy program year starts in September and then picks up steam and intensity, feeling as if we go from Labor Day to the Annual Giving Campaign-start-of-classes-and-programs-then-Advent-and-Christmas-oh my get ready for the Annual Meeting/Elections/retreat-and-Lent-Holyweek-Easter-omigodtimeforthebishop's-visit then all of a sudden it's sunday-school- teacher-appreciation-sunday-graduation-recognition-and-how-did-I-get-114-unaswered-emails-in-my-inbox...
So right now -- early June -- we're...   almost...   to...   the...   end...

But we're not quite there yet.

And so this time of year is "end of year, out of steam" time.

The vacation coming our way - the time when we can relax, unwind, catch our breath and get restored - is still a week or two off for most of us. But in the meantime, we're still at work, still trying to put in an honest day's work, even though we're having what I'd call "can't-I-just-go-to-the-beach-and-stare-at-the-waves" feelings. 

 I stole this drawing from my friend Lori Davis, who stole it from her daughter Olivia.

And of course these feelings are shared by more than clergy, and are not unique to church work. That's part of the reason Jen Hatmaker's recent (hilarious!) post titled Worst End of School Year Mom Ever post went viral, I think.

As she said:  

We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven't checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can't. Cannot. Can. Not. I can't look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don't even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don't even care.

Now for those who don't feel this way...for those of you who know how to marshal your energies wisely year-round and pace yourselves and are not feeling tired, well, congratulations or something, and perhaps this week's post isn't for you...

...but for those of you understand the "can't-I-just-go-to-the-beach-and-stare-at-the-waves" feelings, a word of comfort, an observation straight from scripture:  

Jesus - who was God, but also "only human" -- frequently took time for quiet and prayer in his life.

Jesus was frequently going off for times of quiet solitude.

And telling his followers to.

Remember Jesus' response after he'd commissioned the disciples and they came back full of energy and excitement and reported all they'd done?

He didn't say, "keep pushing!" He didn't say "great start, but you've only just begun, get back out there!" (Jesus is NOT the author of the wretched-works-righteousness-theology-hymn "Come Labor On, Who Dares Stand Idle?")

No, his response to his excited, tired, busy disciples?

Jesus' reaction when he saw that "so many were coming and going, they had no leisure, even to eat"?      

It was this:  


"Go away to a deserted place all by yourselves, and rest a while."

Ahhhh...

Yes, Lord.

...in just a week or two, anyway...

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