Saturday, January 30, 2010

Time Management

Thanks to everyone who left kind words the past few days. You would know how unwarranted they are if you had been with me on Thursday night when a friend and I decided to go and pray with the Benedictine monks. I am too embarrassed to relate the story; let's just say that sometimes I have no business going out in public. Especially when "in public" means "in silence."

My friend said afterward, "You have to remember that the very last thing that Brother M. said as we left was, "I hope you'll come back.' "

Truthfully, I'm not sure how far one can push Benedictine hospitality.

My schedule has been very tight the past several weeks. It was tight before The Quiet Husband ended up in the hospital over New Year's, before his father went into a dramatic decline and died, before I was asked to accompany someone to a funeral home for an initial visit today, before I was asked to preach next Sunday. I am trying to do all the work I did not do during the final push toward ords and suddenly there are several other things on my plate that weren't there a few days ago.

All of which is to say I think I am coming to terms with something about ministry and time management. There will always be things on my plate that weren't there a minute ago. "Things" migrate fast. I realize that I have to plan my days with huge chunks of time open for the unanticipated. If they don't fill up, then I have space for extra reading and study and housework and whatever, but if they do -- well, I knew that was going to happen.

This kind of non-schedule was a feature of my life when I practiced family law, but there were definitive seasons of inconvenience. Right before school starts and Christmas vacation: divorced and divorcing parents have a tendency to create the most impossible situations for their families and their attorneys. Children have a way of not being delivered to the destinations to which pieces of paper known as court orders say they will be delivered, and total havoc ensues.

It seems that in ministry this goes on 24/7. I'm getting it.

I think this is why I need the quiet of the monastery. It's also why I behave badly ~ inadvertently, of course, but badly nevertheless ~ when I get there.

Maybe I need to go back to the practice of law, where loud noises and expletives are, um, expected.

10 comments:

Mompriest said...

Every so often, after a insanely demanding stretch of time I'd find myself with "nothing" on my agenda. The first time this happened, and lasted for, oh, a couple of days, I started to feel bored and worried what I'd do with myself. Haahaahaahaahaahaahaahaa

silly me....

Joan Calvin said...

Well, I always explain that it's legal jargon. Some clergy women are comfortable (among themselves, not with congregations) with the f word but some are not.

karen gerstenberger said...

I love this; it makes perfect sense. You sound so NORMAL, to me. I don't know if that is a comfort, but I intended it as such.
Thank you, as always, for your honesty and the clear way you articulate your truth. It empowers others to do the same, and to be themselves. God bless you!

Gannet Girl said...

JC: Great. I can congratulate myself for my restraint; I did not say F--- in a monastery chapel!

Karen said...

For some reason, this just made me laugh. With that schedule, something's gotta give somewhere, and for you it did--with the monks.

Stratoz said...

time seems to fill up. I still think, "after this happens I'll have more time..." well for 72 hours I have only had time for crackers and bad TV. who knew I had so much free time? I think I am feeling better, but wiped out all the same.

Michelle said...

My excursion to the silence last week had it's rocky moments, too! And I think I need to take your advice, too...even though I'm not ministering.

Gannet Girl said...

Yes, you are, Michelle -- all the time!

Betsy said...

This is what I refer to as "what walks in the door." And somehow a day that is scheduled solid on the calendar seems to bring the most stuff walking in the door :-o

Kathryn J said...

Every time I think I'm hitting my stride, a major hurdle is put in my path - sometimes more than one. I've given up expecting an easy week or even an easy day for that matter.