...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bark! Musings on a Theme by Will Willimon

Bishop Will Willimon penned the phrase The Dog Days of Pentecost and I first read it in a wonderful collection of his devotions published in On a Wild and Windy Mountain. With the drought of 2011, the phrase should make a comeback.

This grueling season is endless and monotonous, and hot! For those churches which observe the church seasons, the season after Pentecost takes us from mild spring days and nights through Christ the King, the culmination of the Christian calendar, which is usually a Sunday in late November. In between are the dog days and the time called "ordinary." We take what respite we can find in summer vacations, holidays, camps, reunions, back to school preparations, and lots of air conditioning!

Whenever we're stuck and not moving in the spiritual life, the season is one of dog days, regardless of the time of year. You are listless, lifeless, and, like the diminishing water tables, we too maybe drained of reserves. We may struggle to sustain the pace we have set. And praying itself seems more like a good idea than a reality. Too, self-care sounds like a great idea, but most of us really don't give it a thought until we're confronted with the drought of spirit that comes with running on empty for too long.

What's the "cure" for the dog days of the spirit? When the traveler prayed "I lift my eyes to the hills," the words were about the dangers and difficulties of the pilgrimage ahead. (Psalm 121:1) Asking about the source of our strength for the trip may be the best move we could make, because the response to that question is "My help is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121: 2)

Surely, there are times to smell the roses, and to take advantage of the respites on the journey. If you have a friend like Spartan the Border Collie, you know how exciting the simple mention of WALK is for canine pals. He is always up for a walk, morning, day, or night. Having that spunk and sense of adventure is a priceless gift.

As long as we focus on the mechanics of the journey, we may become blind to the One who companions us. The Lord who made heaven and earth is the reason we walk in the first place. And the movement to God cannot be made without God.




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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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