January 19th of this year, theBean & I celebrated 20 years pastoring at Hillside. It was a beautiful day with great friends, incredible BBQ (thank you Peter & Pete’s Meat). There were many encouraging things spoken, prayers prayed, & good words from our guest speaker, my dear friend & spiritual director David P. We came away from the weekend incredibly thankful & full of anticipation about what our future at Hillside & in Reno might hold for us.
We had NO IDEA what was coming.
About a month into Nevada’s stay-at-home order (aka the beginning of the quarantine,) the depth & breadth of the impact of what humanity, worldwide, might be facing was beginning to emerge. I can remember feeling overwhelmed, & somehow, more tired than I’d been in who knows how long. Even though we weren’t meeting in person for church, I found my workload had greatly increased, & in addition to the mental/emotional/relational toll ALL THE THINGS were taking, I was constantly drained & often felt like I was running on fumes.
It’s not like I stopped self-care (exercise, Sabbath/rest, eating well, etc…) but I definitely underestimated the impact of our circumstances on me & my sense of well-being.
One of the resources my boss made available to me (& to the other men & women that wear the same hats that I do,) was our District’s “Director of Leadership Development,” Jessie Cruikshank – she’s a wonderful, caring, & brilliant! woman who’s been a real Godsend to me & mine (& to many others, directly & indirectly.) Among her specialities are the mind, brain, & education, leading in a prolonged crisis, & spiritual transformation. (Greatly encourage you to check out a couple of those links. Some really good resources are available.) Anyway, on one of the Zoom calls that she lead our District team through, Jessie made a comment that went something like this:
“One of the keys to navigating a crisis like the one our nation is in is to intentionally be LESS productive & do LESS than you would normally do. Try to give away no more than 60-70% of your schedule, your time, your energy. Because you are facing things right now & in the next weeks & months that will put demands on you that you can’t even begin to imagine.”
Be LESS productive? Do LESS? WHAT?
That really stuck with me – partially because it is counter-intuitive… the bigger the crisis/challenge, the harder you work, right? (Its what was in my head at least.) And yet… I could tell ‘the normal self-care routine” wasn’t cutting it, & I love learning new things & how to navigate through them/incorporate the relevant & effective & healthy, & good into my everyday life.
And so, theBean & I changed our schedules – it helps being somewhat self-employed (we, thankfully, have a pretty good ability to adjust our work schedules). We started taking extra time (an hour or so) in the morning to sit in the quiet, read our Bibles, have coffee, & JUST BE. (Check out that link for a great song from Kim Walker-Smith.)
Sometimes we’d sit downstairs on our couch. Other times we’d be in our room under the big window, or on the little balcony (where we can see the sun rise.) But we did it, & have continued to do it.
In the last month, we’ve expanded our “do LESS/be LESS” times to the evening as well… at the end of our evenings, we find our good sitting places, listen to music, talk, & relax.
While it doesn’t take away or ‘handle’ all of the challenges associated with this long-term mess, it has helped. Is helping. Will continue to help.
So – maybe you needed to hear that – be LESS productive. Do LESS. Just BE.
TheBean is turning into Elmer Fudd. And it’s all because of the Wabbits.
Last August while we were off celebrating our 30th anniversary, I surprised her with a new front yard, complete with new, healthy, lush, & beautifully green grass (or at least as good as it gets in Nevada). One of her favorite things in the world is to sit on the little balcony in the evening, enjoy the view, the quiet, & look at the beauty…
Lately, however, we’ve noticed the grass has gotten… well, patchy. Our lawn guy told us it was because the local rabbit population found our lawn to be Oh So Choice & had obviously chosen to make it their preferred dinner location ad infinitum.
And so theBean bought (water) guns. And we now sit each evening on the little balcony enjoying ourselves, relaxing in the quiet, WHILE waiting with our (water) guns locked & loaded, just waiting for any Wascally Wabbit to show up onto OUR grass. And then the bunny gets it with both barrels.
I’m sure there will be updates on this later…