Slow Down When Things Speed Up

Just a quick note, loveys.

PeaceBang’s ministerial world is at the level of busyness and intensity that you all know, but hope won’t hit more than once in a rare while. All shall be well.

However, after the phone rang this morning with a pastoral emergency on top of another, unrelated, pastoral crisis, I sat myself down for one minute of deep breathing. I slowed down. I walked quietly down the stairs, took the dog out for his walk, did not yank him or berate him for not pooping fast enough, came inside and made myself my breakfast smoothie. That took all of fifteen minutes.

I got in the car, logged my miles, and put on my seat belt. I made a couple of quick phone calls while in the car, but stayed totally calm until I got the hospital.

Everyone at the hospital seemed to be on Special Sweet and Friendly Mode today. How nice!

The calm lasted through the day, until about 7pm when I just got too tired and hungry (even though I had had a 4pm snack). I got home, did not ignore my hunger, made an ok dinner of eggs, and did some cleaning before sitting down to work on a funeral Order of Service. Tomorrow I am attending a leadership conference all day and I do not want to be late, miss it, or attend it in a frazzled or exhausted state.

I made sure to write down everything I ate today. I stayed on my food program. I attribute all of that to reigning myself in during the first hours of my day, going calmly, slowing down, and breathing.

I have a big post coming pretty soon but given the realities of parish life right now, it might be awhile. Meanwhile, ducklings, how goes it with you? I feel myself distancing myself from political debates and overly-concepty conversations about church that feature tons of lingo that only church development insiders know. I find a lot of peace and meaning in focusing on the immediate community right now. Yesterday I went to pay a pastoral call on a woman whom I didn’t know was in the hospital, and took a short walk across her farm, through the woods, and up the hill through a field. The late afternoon light was gorgeous and just gazing out over her beloved homestead was very special. We have had an extraordinarily mild New England winter.

God be with you.

13 Replies to “Slow Down When Things Speed Up”

  1. “You got to slow down to speed up, doll.” That was the advice my mentor, a great line cook named Robert, gave me during my first insane restaurant rush….we had done 200 covers in 4 hours, waiters were crying, managers freaking, and Robert just stopped cooking in the middle of it all and sat down on an overturned bucket and wiped his face calmly and said, “Slow down, doll.”

  2. I might just put the heading of this post everywhere I look! Thank you so much for sharing your experience, PB.

  3. Perfect! Exactly what I need to read and what the church and its leaders need to hear. I plan on referencing this in a meeting next week. I’m in a church that is growing and growing fast and as much as I love that, I think we have to slow down and tend to what and who we have and the growth will come as long as we are preaching, teaching, doing, and BEING the Gospel to each other.

  4. This week’s Gospel for those of us on the Revised Common Lectionary readings is about Jesus taking time out after healing Peter’s mother in law and preaching and healing all evening. He goes to a lonely place and breathes (my paraphrase) Mark 1:29-39

  5. One of the chaplains I worked with during CPE told us, “the chaplain should always be the slowest-moving staff person in the hospital.” It was really difficult for me, as a fast-walking New Yorker, to put this into practice, but it turned out to be really good advice.

  6. Thank you for this. In year 5 of ordained ministry, though I know intellectually that I need to regularly stop, breathe and move slowly, but I am not so disciplined with this in practice. And I feel the effects in a bad way. And so I begin again in love. I appreciate the reflection from a colleague with a longer tenure than I.

  7. “God be with you.” you said – I reply ” And also with you.” I am so relieved to hear you articulate being tired with hearing too much talk and too much jargon – thanks

  8. Here’s one of our favorite bits of silly liturgy: May the Lord bless you and keep you. Reply: In a little jar.

  9. So, PB and friends, I’m living with some enforced “slow down” as I recover from pneumonia (second round in less than a year). You’d think I’d learned my lesson, right? But here I am, back at work (albeit p/t) after two weeks, and not doing too well with even that pace. Thanks for the reminder to walk slowly, breathing often, on the holy ground of our lives. [Sweetie, this is worrisome. My prayers are with you. – PB]

  10. As I have learned, January/February rivals August as the time with the most pastoral emergencies and funerals. It becomes a marathon at the time when our energies are lower due to less sunlight and our spirits are depleted by winter’s gray skies. May you continue to find moments to breathe and *be* – and may God continue to give you the strength and nourishment you need to continue to do the work God has called you to do. I will name you in our prayers tomorrow dear PB.

  11. Canuck Clergy, my alarm bells are ringing your name. Have your doctor write you out of work for at least two more weeks, and let your body heal at its own pace. If you don’t, you are going to die.
    Don’t make us mourn you.

  12. I concur with PaganBuddy – pneumonia will have its way with you, even if you consider yourself strong. Ten years ago I had it, didn’t feel *that* sick, had some adjunct teaching and consulting that I couldn’t let slide, so I went back to the normal schedule after a week at home. But it took almost a year for my lungs to clear, lots of traipsing around to specialists, and it was about 18 months before I got my zing back. If you don’t rest now, pneumonia won’t give up.

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