Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tough Day At Work

Have you ever had one of those days when you go in to work and it seems that everyone is mad at you? In case I've never mentioned, I hate it when people are mad at me. My conflict style is turtle: yell at me, and I tend to draw away inward, then slowly withdraw when I think your attention is distracted by someone else. I've never liked direct conflict, so having to work through direct conflict is just torture for me. It ranks right up there with getting cavities filled.

So over the past week, there was a bit of upheaval in the parish. A few individuals (stalwart, solid souls) decided their level of burnout was affecting their ability to be joyful in community. They decided to allow their positions to expire, and to take a break from further work for a while.

It's sad to lose them as leaders for a season, but I have seen far too many times before what burnout can do to people. I've seen too many people leave the church entirely because we allowed them to burn themselves out to the point they couldn't even experience the saving grace of God. And what purpose do you get involved in a church for, anyway, if not to try and become closer to the Almighty? I'd far, far rather face the task of waiting for new leaders to raise their hands than to face the pain of having two great people leave the church entirely and never return.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure the entire exchange went down well. I fear that there is the sentiment that I somehow forced good people out of their work by being a bad priest. So I felt in the services as though a number of people were just glaring at me. I felt like the bug under the microscope- and a bad bug, at that. I felt like the deer tick must feel after you pluck it off and send it in to be analyzed. And let me tell you, that's a lousy way to feel when you are doing services and presenting your week's worth of work in the sermon and liturgy!

And since I'm still recovering from the Bug, I'm exhausted. I drove home feeling dizzy and queasy. Hours later, after a long rest on the couch, I'm feeling like I can stand upright again. I hate being sick. I hate having people mad at me. And I hate it when these things happen in such stupid ways.

There was a point in the book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when the Magician reflects on his caretaking of the Dufflepuds. He declares his fondness for his wayward charges, saying that at times, they act as if he sees all and knows all, and at others, they behave as if he could be taken in by tricks a baby would see through.

I suppose I feel like the Magician in charge of the Dufflepuds, at the moment. I wonder if the Magician ever got the flu?

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