Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Some assembly required

Last week I had another day with my 'Spiritual Director' where we chatted, shared and prayed over my sabbatical/study leave so far. This was the second of three of such days we've planned for the start, mid-point and end of this time. So... about half-way in, where are things up to? I mentioned last time about the office clear-out and golf lessons being possible pictures of what is going on in the S/SL. The feeling of clear-out and being taken apart has intensified - I was saying to someone the other day it feels like the bits of my work/ministry are lying around me on the garage floor, waiting for re-assembly (I hope!). It's a strange feeling of lack of specific vision and motivation. Plenty of vaguer vision and inspiration about the church and society, culture, engagement etc coming out of what I've been reading, but nothing coming into focus yet about how exactly I will take some of that and re-enter the fray.

I've also been reminded again of a thought I had back when this S/SL was being considered - that I was like a computer that had been running lots of programmes for ages and was getting sluggish. The best thing to do with a computer in such a situation (free Tech Tip here) is to re-boot... start again just with the basic operating system. The next day (God-incidence?) I came across this quote from Bono: "That to me is the spiritual life. The slow reworking and rebooting of a computer at regular intervals. It has slowly rebuilt me in a better image. It has taken years, though, and it is not over yet" (from 'U2 on U2'). Well, the re-boot has happened and I'm now just running the basic operating system with the choice of what other programmes to add. Lots of possibilities, I can't possibly do them all, and I don't want to go back to a situation where it seemed like I was trying to do them all. (Also, I would like to find a different angle for some things, something that would work better. Too idealist? I don't know. Still thinking this one through. More anon).

I'm hoping and praying the next bit of the S/SL will see some re-assembly, some specifics. But just now it's a little weird and a bit of a struggle... that's probably something to do with impatience. I was reminded again the other day that this is a valuable time in and of itself, not just as a means to an end. And it may not happen again for some time!

I feel a twinge of guilt at the luxury of having someone spend this time focusing on me and what I'm about. I also feel a bit guilty at taking this time out when I see or meet others who seem to be able to just bash on year after year without any visible signs of fatigue, loss of vision, energy etc. Maybe they've got the balance right - the balance I've struggled with for years, leading in the end to a situation of near burn-out. When I end this time and get back involved in stuff (whatever that is to be) I need to establish a pattern or balance of activity that will include relaxation and rest, reflection and study, not in a big block like just now, but in the daily/weekly/monthly/annual round. Could be a challenge given the chaotic nature of the urban context.

As always, those of you who are, thanks for the prayers. All comments, queries, suspicions of heresy, whatever, welcome.

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