Another part of self-care...

Today when I went to the mail, there was a package from my friend in Thunder Bay, Ontario - Peter - or Black Pete for those in the know: check him out at http://redwineandgarlic.blogspot.com/ or http://walkerbyneed.blogspot.com/ during Lent.)  It was a DVD about the Beats and Kerouac (something I'm going to watch tomorrow before our next jazz gig.)  

Peter's gift - and our friendship with he and his beloved Joyce - put this day into perspective as I thought a little more about ministry and self-care.  I gave my evening to a new clergy group - a Berkshire Community of Practice - dedicated to helping clergy stay connected with professional colleagues who will share regular prayer, encouragement and accountability with one another.  

Too often, ministers find themselves feel alone and emotionally/spiritually isolated - and this is when they get into trouble.  In my tradition, because we aren't formally "connectional," no one is required to be a part of such a group - just seriously encouraged.  And the folk I met with tonight - very different in age and experience from me - were wonderful, thoughtful and compassionate colleagues whom I look forward to getting to know better over the course of the next year.  That is part of our covenant:  to be with one another in prayer and accountability for a year.
 These folk are people I can be totally honest with about my ministry - more than friends but not therapists - and all from outside my local church.  I have loving and deep relationships with a variety of people in my congregation - some very profound and loving - but these are all public relationships.  In all of them, even in our small pastor/parish sharing group, it is clear that I am always the minister - not RJ the wounded man searching for grace with lots of questions - but Pastor James.  And I wouldn't have it - nor should it be - any other way. In church, I am a public person and God have mercy on us all should anyone forget this truth.

But RJ still needs colleagues of compassion and confidence, too.  And tonight - in addition to my on-going spiritual friendship with another local clergy person whom I treasure - I took another small step towards self-care.  That and the serious diet Dianne and I have been practicing - plus playing in the jazz band - AND the new Fender bass amp I bought today are all part of the package!  Made me think of this incredible version of a classic...

Comments

Black Pete said…
Glad it got there, man. And remember this quote from Stephanie Kallos (Broken for You)" "You're worth more broken."
RJ said…
For that I am grateful, Peter.

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