Cave-seeking, bone-tired, introvert minister

It may seem strange to find out that the high-energy preacher in the pulpit; the minister-about-coffee hour is an introvert. Sundays sap energy. When I am tired, drained and need to recharge I need to be left alone – as do most introverts. Introverts recharge our batteries in quiet, away from others. I hit the wall yesterday just as I sat down in the parish hall for the wedding reception. It was the fourth wedding for me this year, third at the church, but the first one that involved members of my congregation. It was just wonderful. Beyond beautiful.

But Sunday morning was a very involved intergenerational worship that was a lot of fun and it’s canvass time to boot. It had been a long day. This is how tired I was: I don’t drink caffeine. I had to have a high test coffee to drive home and it didn’t keep me awake long enough last night to write this post.

This morning, when I woke up to read the papers and blogs (and no, 4 a.m. is not all that early for me, especially when I go to sleep early), I read this post from Auspicious Jots about the exhaustion encountered in the ministry. The kind that requires minister’s nap time on Sunday afternoon and makes you bone tired because you put forth a great expense (expanse?) of energy at the front of that church on Sunday morning, not to mention the rest of the week, but Sunday morning especially.

Auspicious Jots relates a story of how she complained of such ministerial fatigue to colleagues at a minister’s meeting and received some sage advice from a respected and experienced colleague:

When I was a very young minister (27) I went to a clergy cluster meeting and bemoaned how exhausted I was. The group was generally supportive but one comment always stuck with me.

I am very fortunate to have Rev. Gordon McKeeman as a colleague…Gordon is also gentle, kind-hearted, and understated.

Instead of giving me a tongue lashing or ignoring me, Gordon addressed my exhaustion in his quiet way: It’s because every seventh day is Sunday.

He was right, of course. Not just about the days of the week, but about the brand of fatigue to which our ilk are prone….Today is Sunday. I am wiped out. Services this AM were more complex than they sometimes are. We had a delightful and lively crowd at church and I tried to at least say hello to them all…My back hurts. My throat is sore. I’m out of words.

Because every seventh day is Sunday. Just brilliant. And something I really needed to hear because I felt like a zombie by the end of the wedding reception last night. I too was tired, sore and at the time, although not this morning, out of words. I was just sitting there, hoping to God not one more person talked to me because I was having trouble focusing enough to reply, I was that tired. Thanks A-Jots (and Rev. Gordon McKeeman). Others have told me, essentially the same thing, but I really needed to hear again and your timing was perfect.

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