Lord, In Your Mercy…A Prayer for a Hurting People

What a week it has been. Churches burned and violated. More people fleeing their native lands for safer territory out of fear, and even in our own country, several children shot in the head by someone they did not know in the presumed safety of their parents’ custody (better question, is there ever a reason for anyone, child or adult to be shot or maimed?). What a week it has been.

With this in mind, and under the purview of the Twelve Blog, I decided to lift up a Prayer for a Hurting People, asking for God’s Grace, for God to hear Our Prayers.

Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.
What a week it has been.
With shootings, deaths, continued uncertainty
and periods of wandering in the desert
with many searching for a more permanent-temporary home,
This week has brought it all.
It has brought the final roll call of brothers in blue,
more raising of arms and words between your sons and daughters,
and even the burning of another one of your gathering places in St. Louis,
a sanctuary for all those in need.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear the cries of your children,
brokenhearted on bended knee.
Merciful father-mother,
Draw close to your creation
Wrap your protecting and guiding arms around it,
As only you know what is just and right in such a time as this.
Give us grace and discernment,
Vision to truth and wisdom,
Words to comfort,
Presence to nurture and cultivate where bonds are broken.
God of the Resurrection,
Hear our prayers for reconciliation and peace.
Soften our hearts to love the beauty in our brothers and sisters,
As we are all created in your image,
And you called each and every one of us Good.
Help us to love gently,
Show mercy first and foremost,
And stand up against injustice.
Lord of Liberation,
Lord who mends broken bodies,
Lord who weeps with his broken and wounded communities,
In your mercy,
Hear our prayers.
Amen.

Mark 10: What Happens If (and when) We Get It Wrong

[Read the Original Version of this post on The Twelve: http://blog.perspectivesjournal.org/2015/10/18/what-happens-if-and-when-we-get-it-wrong/    where I am a guest blogger every Sunday for the next few months!]

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:35-45

Today’s Gospel text, from Mark 10, focuses on an interaction between Jesus and two of his disciples, James and John. The text picks up without any preface or appropriate introduction, with John and James approaching Jesus with a very particular request: “Teacher Jesus, we want you to do everything and anything we ask you to do.”

I find the request of the two disciples to be blunt and, shall we say, bold. Yet the pastor in me understands them, and apparently so does Jesus. “You do not know what you are asking,” he responds. “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

Jesus tries to fill the two men in on the fact that their request is not his to grant. But their persistence is admirable. Perhaps in the end, what they ask of their humanly divine teacher is off base. Still, Christ refuses to give up, on James and John, and on us.

What happens if, and when, we get it wrong like James and John? We are human, after all. It is normal to get it wrong every now and again. Barbara Brown Taylor put it perfectly,

Popular religion focuses so hard on spiritual success that most of us do not know the first thing about the spiritual fruits of failure. When we fall ill, lose our jobs, wreck our marriages, or alienate our children, most of us are left alone to pick up the pieces. Even those of us who are ministered to by brave friends can find it hard to shake the shame of getting lost in our lives…We spend so much of our time protecting ourselves from this exposure that a weird kind of relief can result when we fail. To lie flat on the ground with the breath knocked out of you is to find a solid resting place. This is as low as you can go. You told yourself you would die if it ever came to this, but here you are. You cannot help yourself and yet you live.” (An Altar in the World, 78)

Jesus does not wipe away his disciples’ desire to draw near to him, despite the fact that their means are less than praiseworthy. Instead, he aims to teach them, allowing for a sigh of relief and a moment to pick up the pieces. In other words, Christ is not the “lesson-teacher”, but rather is in the midst of the lesson, and is the one who draws near to pick up the pieces with us when we get the message wrong. Jesus does not wipe away the other ten disciples’ anger, but dwells in the midst of it. In my chaplain opinion, Jesus lies flat on the ground in it, rather than ignoring the humanity of the response. In Christ’s own humanity, he recognizes the eagerness of his disciples and shares with them his purpose…again. What he shares with them is that greatness is honed less through work, and more through servitude and humility, through getting it wrong, through the scraped knees, picking yourself up, and listening for the still small voice of God.

James and John’s desire to draw near to Christ resulted in them treating Jesus like a genie who grants three wishes, rather than the Son of God who was there to serve not be served. In the process of missing the mark, they fell down, and likely scraped their knees. This does not constitute failure. They messed up in their eagerness. They gained new insights, both about themselves and about the potential of their God in Christ

You see, failure—if we let it—is never failure, but rather growth in disguise. Because of Christ, we live each and every time as changed people in the New Creation, having gotten it wrong in many different manifestations, permutations, shapes, and forms.

I wonder if all that James and John really wanted was to draw closer to Christ, especially having just come to the realization that their beloved teacher was to be crucified and was soon to be leaving them. But their execution was off. Christ, in his divine patience, saw not their poor execution, but rather the persistence of their faith.

May we, on this Lord’s Day, and in the week to come, feel the grace and closeness of God the Creator, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit moving in and through our daily lives, meeting each and everyone one of us, just where we are, the Divine’s beloved. Amen.

Finding Community after Seminary Through the Theology of the Communion of Saints (Repost from The Twelve)

Preface: I have been guest-blogging on “The Twelve” (find it here…and I recommend you check out all the other awesome bloggers! http://blog.perspectivesjournal.org) each Sunday for the past two Sundays, and will be doing so for the next eight or so…), and this was last Sunday’s blog post. I thought I would share it here for all who may have missed it! 

Confession time: I used to be a very orthodox pastor. And perhaps I still am at my core.

But after working in the midst of suffering, dying and death—truly the definition of theological murkiness, with nothing that I could look up in the index of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion for reference—I decided that, God and I would just have to wing it. Theological themes and terms like, providence, theodicy, and the communion of saints came up, and were embodied, if not clearly defined. I as new pastor and person had to walk with God, patient and family, and rely on knowledge hammered into me over the course of three very dense years of seminary.

But the communion of saints—a theological concept glossed over quickly in systematic theology second semester of first year—became the single most significant term for both pastor and person. Communio sanctorum, in Latin, is the spiritual union of members in the Christian Church, and refers not necessarily to holy persons, but rather to holy things, in particular to the graces and gifts people share with one another.

In times of strife and stress, these holy gifts and graces become particularly marked, whether they are meals, cards, or phone calls. These small gestures become holy, and for the elderly or the young, they are life-changing and even can be called life-saving. One couple, who had been waiting in the hospital for a lung transplant for over nine weeks called a laughter filled phone call from a college roommate life-saving when people around them had been sterilizing their interactions. Truly a sign of holy things, and fruits of the Spirit among them.

Even in the Reformed tradition the Communion of Saints appears and is strongly defended—in the Heidelberg Catechism, citing Hebrews 8, 1 Corinthians 12, and 1 John 3. In each of these examples, the Catechism makes the claim that anyone who is united with God is united in Spirit. And if this is such, we are One People, One holy catholic church as the Apostles’ Creed states. Then we must be in fellowship, truly and completely, with one another.

I too had received the holy gifts of the Communion of Saints. As a new resident of California, a recent seminary graduate, newly ordained minister, and 3000 miles away from family, the saints appeared in the form of nurses and physical and occupational therapists on my units. They cooked and prepared meals for me, prayed for me, and checked in on me. O my final days at UCSF, they prepared a progressive potluck in the different nurses stations and an origami chain of love notes to say goodbye. They became my family away from home, prayed for me when I had job interviews, illnesses, joys and crises, and constantly protected me, just as I them.

Confession time: Perhaps I still am a very orthodox pastor. And, orthodoxy looks different on the ground, when things look gray and murky, and theology meets humanity, meets community. If there is one thing the communion of saints has taught me, it was this. It is about the creation of truly holy things out of genuinely ordinary things, and that is precisely what our God does, each and every day, if I just take the time to pause and watch it happen.

Blog Post: Waiting in Darkness

[Preface: I was asked to write an article describing my work as a hospital chaplain for my denomination’s quarterly publication…this is huge, especially given my love for writing, my work and my Faith. Here it is!]

CHAPLAIN OFFERS RESURRECTION HOPE TO ORGAN TRANSPLANT PATIENTS

Walk down the hallways of the Heart and Lung Transplant Unit where I work, and you will see patients with some impressive surgical scars.

If you have the time to pull up a chair and pop open a juice cup, you will hear some pretty incredible testimonies of miracles and resurrections following their transplants. Others are still waiting for a new organ, but eagerly will ask you to share a Boost shake and a tale of where they are in their journey to transplant.

When I felt the call to chaplaincy a few years ago in the midst of seminary, I never envisioned serving transplant patients, hearing stories of resurrection transformation. At times, I am the spiritual guide; at other times, patient listener, truth teller, and stormy sea navigator; and finally, my favorite roles: hair stylist, makeup artist, and joke teller.

For those anticipating an organ, it is a period of waiting—the pre-Easter period, where the patient’s tombstone has yet to be rolled away, and she has yet to shed the clothes of her old illness. I have heard a patient describe it much like Jesus’ three days in the tomb, just before he rolls the stone away and appears again to his disciples. Some have years between diagnosis, listing, and transplant, while others only have weeks and months. Most are able to live at home with their families in this waiting period, attempting to continue some semblance of a “normal” life, while a few must wait in the hospital under the watchful eye of the heart and lung transplant teams. Regardless of how patients and their families come to the transplant process, they receive a visit from a chaplain.

Ministry to those facing what is possibly the end of their lives is anything but easy, and at times can be a spiritual and theological juggling act. Transplant chaplaincy, without a doubt, requires a faith in God’s providence—an understanding that rather than being able to provide the answers to those in this expectant resurrection period, I am there to be the “both/and” chaplain, the person who walks alongside in the midst of the ambiguities and offers words of encouragement and hope in a wilderness not unlike those of Abraham and Moses.

I can remember one patient who waited in the hospital for more than 80 days—what she called her “lung wilderness time.” She had risen and gone to bed each day holding in prayer a donor family she didn’t know, all the while asking God to keep her just healthy enough to survive surgery, yet not healthy enough that she wouldn’t remain at the top of the transplant list. She admitted to me that she had made peace with the time she had spent with her children and grandchildren, but felt restless in her soul in this resurrection-waiting time—that waiting for organs felt both peaceful and expectant and also horribly painful and nerve-wracking. “Waiting and praying for someone to die so that I can live feels very un-Christian, yet I don’t understand how that isn’t any different from what Christ did already,” she told me.

I don’t have all the answers to statements like these, but God does—God who is always present for his people in the midst of the mysteries of illness and tragedy. And what matters most is how we respond as God’s people. Into these dark places God sends his children, the church, to be with those who are suffering most greatly. As a chaplain, I have seen what can only be described as the communion of saints gathering around a single family when illness strikes. As they are being cared for, my role is to assure the family that love persists even in the question-filled darkness, that lament with God is acceptable, and most of all, that God can take our pain and suffering, anger and torment, without shame or guilt. I cannot answer questions, nor can I necessarily lead the families I serve to those answers, but I can encourage families that, to paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we believe in a God who suffers alongside us and laments along with us. 

Ultimately, I must believe that God is the chaplain and I am merely the vessel for whatever is needed in the situation, whether it be hope, direction, peace, silence, grief, truth, humor, or a new hairdo.

This work is beautiful, life-giving, and miraculous. In the midst of an ever-changing hospital culture, the chaplain is—I am—the one person who can meet people in transition just as they are, where they are—in the resurrection, or before. In hope or in new creation.

[My name] is a resident chaplain at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center in San Francisco, California.

Praise God for suffering alongside us and lamenting along with us.

Pray for patients waiting for organ donations as they hope for new life.

Find out how else God is using chaplains by visiting www.rca.org/chaplains.

– See more at: https://www.rca.org/news/waiting-darkness#sthash.EdEFGUsl.dpuf

Blog Post: And The Sky Wept

Transitions are difficult. They always are. They come with beauty, goodness, formation, but undoubtedly, they come with some brokenness, weeping, heartache. Fist-shaking, cursing, and for the new me, plenty of tears.

What is all this about, you may ask? I am a minister without charge, a pastor without a call, a chaplain without a hospital, a minister without a flock. I finished my residency on Friday, and while I could finally say that I won’t be doing any 24 hour on call shifts for a while (huge sigh of relief here…), there were many tears (and I mean many…but my tear pouch is not empty, at least not quite yet), as I won’t be going to the place and serving the people where for the first time in my life I heard the voice of God the loudest. Now, mind you, I know this won’t be the last call I receive, but humor me for a moment, this ending feels catastrophic. It feels life-ending. It feels significant. Because for the first time in forever (yes, I did just quote Frozen…), I truly belonged, and it wasn’t because of something I did, but because of something God did. The work God did in and through me was magical, and at times, completely ordinary yet Divine perfection.

The morning after I finished, the sky opened, as though to empathize with my grief. If you aren’t aware, California is suffering from a multi-year drought of critical proportions, and the City of San Francisco hasn’t seen rain since December (the average rainfall in San Francisco is 0.1 inch per month, to put things in perspective). But finally, as if to say, I get your grief, I get the depth of this transition moaning, the skies opened and the heavens poured out the heaviest of raindrops. The sky boomed and roared, thunder crashed and lightening flashed – a storm truly unlike the San Francisco I have grown to know and love, but am soon leaving behind for my beloved New York.

IMG_0118

See, here’s the thing. Everything is going to be ok. I will find a call, and the process has already begun. Resumes have been circulated, countless jobs applied for, and desperate prayers have been lifted to the heavens. But the time isn’t right. My time is, but God’s isn’t. And that’s ultimately what matters. And what hurts the most about this whole thing. The growth in the waiting happens when I learn to listen, rather than speak. To listen to and for the still small voice of God, in whatever way it manifests itself.

Transitions are hard; they involve saying goodbye. A whole lot of goodbyes, in fact. And on Friday, I had to say goodbye to a group of people who felt like my “band of brothers,” my comrades, because verily and truly, it felt as though we had been to the front together. To be crude, working in a cardiac ICU, working with the sickest of the sick – patients who are on the last line mechanical ventilatory supports (both old and young) – brings people together in a way that I would imagine only soldiers who have fought in battle might understand. But, as my dearest Sikh supervisor said to me as we tearfully parted ways back in February, there are never goodbyes, only hello hellos. This doesn’t, however, deafen and dull the initial shock of the separation and transition.

But God is there…a voice in the wilderness, to lean on, just as I have been the one for others to lean on all these months. Perhaps it is time for a role reversal, however hard that is to face, fathom and stomach for this type-A personality, for this doer, helper, covenant-former and community-creator. Who knows all that God has in store for this liminal time, but I can begin by showing my gratitude for the weeping sky, the first sign of transition, change and ultimately, forward progress, rather than stasis.

And in the meantime, I’ll be here. Watching and waiting, hoping and praying. And working on patience. Watching the sky weep. Waiting for the sun to shine again.

IMG_0080

Blog Post: Be Still and Know

I’ve never been one for dream work, apart from one dream reflection done in my very first unit of CPE at TJUH, and even then, I must admit I did a fair amount of bullshitting. I didn’t dream much that summer, and what little dreaming I did do that summer consisted of nightmares- of patient deaths, of my pastoral insufficiencies, and constant questions of whether I had gotten God’s call to ministry (not even just to chaplaincy) wrong. I remember even to this day a few of my nightmares from that summer, two years ago to this day, and many of them involve the dreaded CODE BLUE trauma pager. Except in my dream, the code pager multiplied exponentially, as did patients and their desperation. Fortunately, two years later, my wounds feel far less deep and puss filled, and I am able to laugh at jocularity of these dreams, as they no longer wake me up sweating and panting in the dark of night.

But again, I am awoken by another set of dreams, questioning what they mean, on the eve of a set of transitions and potentially huge life markers. I’m not a huge dreamer in general, and when I do, they’re vivid sagas, with lifelike characters, voices and narrative story lines. Sometimes the stories end abruptly without a clear conclusion – clearly, I awake from sleeping and ruin a perfectly good dream, oh the spoils of sleep! While other times, the dreams unfold like a long road before me, becoming more and more complicated and difficult to follow. That is where last night’s dream comes in. I was in some type of dark auditorium or classroom, with rows and rows of chairs lined up facing a projection screen. Some movie was playing on the screen but no sound came with it. I don’t remember what was being projected, but I do remember my supervisor – current, not past, and this detail is significant to the dream – standing up front in a position of authority. The room is dark, backlit by only the haunting silence projector. All of a sudden, a resident peer, with whom my relationship has not always been the most, shall we say, peaceful, begins to shout at me, her arms waving in violent gesticulation. I am still sitting, and wondering what is happening, a stiff and angry knot forming in my core. Even in my sleep, I can feel my heart begin to race, and a word forms in my throat, as hot tears stream down my cheeks.

SHUT UP…won’t you? I yell, as I come to standing, facing my aggressor in my fullness. I can see that my supervisor is motioning to my peer, arms waving in a helicopter motion, as if to temper the situation, but it is too late – the words have boiled over. As have I. Before I can say anything else, my peer sits down, as do I, but I realize that I cannot breathe. Suffocation sets in, heart beating too fast. The scene in the auditorium pulls away quickly, leaving me in darkness, and I wake up from dreaming.

A fellow chaplain and respected colleague told me this week that in the meditative place – the dream space – we are able to come closer to God, to have a closer sense of what God needs to tell us, what we have been ignoring in the cacophonous clammer of daily existence, where both we and God coexist.

This dream space brings into being sacred messages of clarity, and even, cryptic messages revealing reality checks too. And I wonder if, I am intended to stop, take a pause, and awe at something based upon the astonishing message of this dream. Rarely do I yell, let alone tell anyone to shut up in such a violent tone, regardless of their actions toward me. CPE, and my chaplaincy year 3000 miles away from my family and beloved faith community has without a doubt strengthened my pastoral authority; it has taught me the meaning of my voice – my justice voice, my advocacy voice, and perhaps most importantly, my listening voice. So maybe the voice being used in this dream is not that of advocacy – the most obvious of those listed above – but rather that of listening, and the one that must “be still” and listen for the still small voice of the Divine in the midst of what is still unknown (or yet to be determined) in the immediate future with the God who holds our vocational walk together.

I have always struggled to wholly trust that God will hold my vocational walk safely in His hands, and perhaps that is what this dream is teaching me. To use language that is firm, as sometimes I need that type of verbosity to get through my thick scull…

SHUT UP, LIZ…Won’t you? Do not fear. For I have this in the palms of my hands. Be still and know that I am YOUR God, and YOU are my BELOVED CHILD. We will get through this together…just as we have before. 

Maybe that is what God was trying to say before I woke up. Only my unconscious knows. And God of course. But the great thing is, God is still there, waiting for me to be still. And so here I am. Being still. In the midst of a waiting period, until I know what comes next.

So stay tuned…because with God at the helm, something exciting always seems to be on the horizon.

Blog Post: Pastoral Burnout…Yes, It Does Happen, but Not Forever!

It begins with a whisper in the back of your mind, a body ache, or a nagging physical symptom, and then all of a sudden…PASTORAL BURNOUT!!

Well, lets back up. Perhaps it isn’t this extreme, especially for me, a hospital chaplain who has only been in ministry eight months, but given how much I am “in ministry,” and lets face it, everything I do is ministry – pushing an elevator button for someone who is unable to reach it, holding the elevator door for someone, offering directions in the massive hospital community I am apart of (now that I am no longer completely and utterly lost on a day to day basis…what an accomplishment!), offering to pay for someone’s coffee when I notice they don’t have enough to pay for their own at Starbucks, even offering grace to the cashier at my “local” Target when she needs to ring up my entire order again (a large one at that…) after I have put it all in corresponding bags, and in the midst of the process, she mentions she has only been working there (rather woefully, I might add…) for a week. All of this is ministry, and after a while, these little ticks add up, especially after doing five 24-hour on call shifts with advancing Cardiomyopathy (a fancy name for my heart condition), and as my Cardiologist in NY hypothesizes, the cold I had in January likely put me in the early stages of Heart Failure (given that my EF went from 65% – normal!, down to 50%, not so normal…).

All this to say, regardless of the baggage (physical, emotional, or spiritual, or any combination of the three), pastoral burnout happens! But it isn’t a permanent condition. As Ministers of Word and Sacrament (myself included in this unique and special club), we are called to be giving, selfless, and attuned to the needs of the world at every moment, and yet, this often times means that we are less attuned to our own needs. As the last few months have worn on, however, I have made it my goal to be more attuned to my own needs, understanding that I cannot be attuned to the needs of others if I am not serving myself. This harkens back to the charge I was given by a special Minister mentor in my life at my ordination. She charged me with the following words:

“Endure suffering: This can be a tough job. God is a pretty demanding boss at times. The church is even more so. Take God seriously, take God’s people seriously, but do not take yourself too seriously. As you are diligent in your studies, also be diligent in your play. Make time for rest. Make time for fun. Stay connected to the people who lift and nourish your spirit. Resist the ever-present temptation to be everything to everyone. Spend time alone with God every day. Take your work seriously, but also take time away so that it does not consume you. Take your vacation time. Take a day off every week (and by off, I do not mean returning emails and writing a sermon). Get enough sleep…take care of yourself. In order to endure suffering, ministers must be strong…strong in spirit, in mind, and in body. God has entrusted you with he care of those God loves…and that includes you.”

I distinctly remember sitting there, staring into the eyes of a woman I admired, who had also endured a great deal of suffering, much of which I had not known, do not know, and likely will never know, but understand that as a result of this suffering, she was standing before me, commanding me to be a firm and strong woman of God, as she is, but not fall into the temptation of perfection and overfunctioning that would lead to pastoral burnout. On the day of my ordination, just a few months ago, this Minister of Word and Sacrament, who I deeply and completely respect, was calling me on my stuff, before a congregation of others, and holding me yet again accountable, as she always had, and asking me to hold myself accountable.

I have “stuff,” and “stuff” that likely places more limitations – physical and at times deeply emotional and spiritual – and if I don’t take stock of the fact that I cannot be Paul (be all things to all people), I will suffer from pastoral burnout. I have had inklings, especially in the last eight weeks, as my on call shifts have doubled (and nearly tripled), and have called out to God for strength, courage, and even at times wondered whether it was physically and emotionally possible for me to continue this work. But I have been gifted time – days off, and by the grace of God, my very first set of TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS OFF in a whole month (this may sound trivial to some, but for me, this is a blessing…).

Pastoral burnout – and the beginnings of it – is so totally preventable, but only if I am able to admit that I have human (very human) limits, and cannot do this ministry thing without taking taking time for myself. As I head into my fourth unit of CPE (and have extensive Cardiopulmonary Testing on 4/3/15, this coming Friday – including PFTs and an Arterial MV02 test…google it if you’d like to know more), I am deciding to live into my mentor’s Ordination charge – to minister to myself, and thereby be a bit more selfish in my taking of personal and vacation time, to not expect to be all things to all people (Sorry Paul, but I think you got that one in the bag…), and hopefully, when all is said and done, I will have taken the time to recharge, better understanding what self-care means to me (a process that has been underway over the last 8 months, but I have come to believe will be in place over the course of a lifetime!). I distinctly remember a dean and fellow woman in ministry saying to me in seminary that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint, and even 3 years later, that piece of advice sticks with me.

So. Burnout. Whether it appears in the itch to travel, the desire to run from ministry entirely, or the desire to change forms of ministry, burnout is real, and is a sign that ministry to the self is necessary, lacking and disproportionate. Ministers too are deserving of self-love, self-care, and deserve the equal care they dole out toward others…a lesson I am learning as I spend more time in the field, and as God works in and through me, and as I receive a great deal of love from others (families, physicians, nurses, social workers, etc.) that I never expected.

So. Be selfish, with your time, with your love, and with your need for self-care. I sure am, especially as I realize that my health requires it – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I don’t want to claim that God doesn’t blame me, as that isn’t theologically sound, but I would believe that the God who has created me, and has called me to this work, would desire for me to do the same work on myself, as I am doing on others.

And then…back to work on Monday!

Amen.