In a good place.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One of the gifts my dad left me, and I mean that sincerely, was this ability to hustle to get things done when necessary. I didn't always hustle like he wanted me to, in fact often I dawdled and took my time and I came to see this as a great sort of weakness in my life, this dawdling and taking my time to complete something. I grew to understand that work was the ability to get things done, and the more of that you could do, the better and less lazy a person you were.

It came naturally to me to work work work and I felt like I had value when I would do many things, especially at the same time. I remember in my grade 11 year, I had High School, I was working a job weekends and part time evenings, I was the leader of my church youth group, I was president of our school church group, I was a volunteer downtown at a TV station, and on and on it went. I would follow a pattern of getting overly involved, then crashing after a year because I couldn't handle it all, then feeling lousy about myself, then after a time, get the thing going again. I am a much better person today, but the temptation is still there sometimes, when I feel like I'm not valuable or contributing enough.

Fast forward to today.

In this ministry I do, pastoral work, there are occasionally times that I have struggled with this same sort of syndrome, although I've learned the great value of taking ones time to work and think and pray about things and not to rush people along. The big things usually take lots of time to build.

This summer has been really tough for me as this place has slowed down through the summer. I've been feeling like I'm not contributing enough to the community out here, and my response to feeling that lack has been to try to do more and get more done. Well, out here you can take a whole day just to get one or two visits or coffees or even a lunch done. It's just so different than the ministry experience I've known in the city. The result has been that my surroundings and space have forced me to accomplish less, and to slow down more, even against this inner drive. That's made me occasionally crazy around here and frustrating to live with, I know.

But it's been what is needed. After working here 20 months and only taking one week off (that was my fault, not the churches) what I needed was a forced quiet time, like being sent to my room to think things through a bit. As I look back now, this summer's silence may be the difference between a fruitful work here and packing it in early.

When there are no ways to rush things or visit 4 widows in one day, which I'm embarrassed to admit doing in the past, you are forced to do what you can and visit only one or at the most, two ladies. You take time and slow down and can't do five things on those days.

Maybe my understanding of work is shifting too. I'm learning again that its not how much you can get done but maybe how faithful you are to the things you are entrusted with doing. You can only do so much in 24 hours so let that be. Quit trying to find value in doing more.

I do work smarter than I ever have before, and I know these things, but the effect of this place on me seems to be s l o w i n g m e d o w n m o r e . So it's a richer life. Last night I walked out there again because it was cool and the bugs were being blown away and I just rested in the glory of this place. Maybe a part of me doesn't want to let go and love it with all my heart because down the road I may have to move on again. Maybe.

But I'm in a better place than I've been most of the year, and I'm loving the effect this place is having on me, though I don't always like it.

The metaphor of The Field is growing thin and weak for me these days and I'm searching for a new one. One that involves language like Home or Belonging or the Land because more and more I feel a part of this place, and just as I thought he would do, Jesus is using the space to teach me things I could never learn in other places.

For these days anyway, I'm in a good place.


  1. It does my heart good to read these words.
    The word that came to me was something along the lines of "sanctuary" but I'm not sure I like it any better I'll ponder that one a bit and let you know...

  2. I like the metaphor because the field can be a place of activity(growth and harvest) and even summer fallow(rest). don't be in a hurry to lose it.

  3. I agree with Jeff. The field has its' busy times and its' rest times. Sometimes they are different times of the season within the same community.

  4. ...the blessings one experiences when one follows God...we never really know them until we do.


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