Mondays are For Practicing Taking Time Off

I have a hard time winding down. My mind is usually juggling a number of things all at once: replaying a conversation over here, working on my sermon over there, considering this or that idea for school on this side, and thinking about what needs done at home over on that side. This is probably how it is for everyone, but I often find that the many layers of activity going on in my head become so noisy that it’s hard to actually hear and see what’s happening right in front of me. I literally have a hard time seeing things the more jammed full I get. It’s not unusual to find myself anticipating the next task, the next meeting, the next what-have-you, while I’m in the middle of something else. I really don’t like this about myself and so one of the things I’m working on is paying attention to when I start anticipating something else. Why did I just remove myself from this situation and start focusing on something else? What causes it? How do I slow down and be present with the situation at hand, etc.

And so, I take a day off.  If I am upfront about it, I find it really hard to be completely off. It takes real practice to really take time to separate myself from everything else and just rest.

Mondays are my day off and I’m really trying to protect them by staying off the computer (breaking that one right now), keeping my phone on vibrate (or off) and out of reach so I don’t sneak a look at email, facebook, twitter, etc. I want it to be a day for family, playing with my kids, and reading something fun (currently I’m trudging through “War and Peace,” a Christmas gift from my wife). Days off are weird when you’re a full-time pastor. I’ve struggled to really have a good rhythm that includes work and Sabbath. And so I’ve landed on Monday mostly because it’s after Sunday, so I can legitimately rest before starting up again with no sermon, service, or other even lingering (I don’t necessarily like the theology implicit in this, but it’s what works for now). But it also has it’s problems. One of the issues with Monday is that my weekend is split in half. I try and take Saturdays off with varied amounts of success, then I am “at work” on Sunday, then Monday I’m off. Another problem is that I always feel like I’m starting a day behind when I roll in to the office on Tuesday mornings and I for one don’t like to work that way if I can avoid it. But for now, it works for the family and I really feel like I need one full day where I can be a home-body, and practice being present. Today, was just the day I needed. A lot of time to rest and enjoy Emily and the girls. I feel relaxed and ready for another full week ahead.

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.