Care for Yourselves in Body, Mind, Spirit and Relationships
We cannot turn anywhere today without being confronted with COVID-19. It is often the topic of conversation with friends and family. When we watch the news, we are updated with the latest casualty count. When we go anywhere, we see each other only above the top of our masks. Plexiglass dividers, hand sanitizer and social distancing have become a way of life. Our lives have become consumed by it.
In the life of the church, we continue to venture into uncharted territory. Pastors often feel underequipped and over-whelmed. In the midst of this, it is easy to become discouraged and disheartened. It is these times, when we are “out of sorts;” out of our usual routines, that unhealthy habits and behaviors creep in, and it just makes things worse.
Recently, Bishop Malone sent out a video to all clergy, encouraging them to be sure to care for themselves, so that they can care for those the serve and love. It is the same principle as when we are flying, and preflight instructions tell us to place an oxygen mask on ourselves first, before we help our children. While that may seem selfish, it is actually very wise. We cannot help anybody else, unless we first ensure that we are healthy.
So, a note to clergy to care for yourselves in body, mind, spirit and relationships. Let’s be careful and mindful about what we eat. Take a walk. There are lots of body weight exercises that can be found online that we can do in the privacy and safety of our own home. Let’s also be mindful of what occupies our mind. A good mental diversion can give our mind a break from always being consumed with COVID-19. Read a good novel. Binge watch something. Listen to a new podcast. This is also a good time to get out of our usual routine and start a new spiritual practice. During “ordinary” times, when we are all in church on Sunday mornings, it is difficult to hear our colleagues preach. Now, many of our colleagues are posting their sermons online. Make listening to various sermons be part of a new spiritual practice. We can do all of those things to care for our body, mind and spirit; and still be alone. It is not healthy for us to be alone. We are social creatures. Let’s be sure to remain connected with friends and family. This “extra-ordinary” time we are in also provides the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and relatives. Let’s make the effort to intentionally remain connected.
For the lay folks in the churches, please hold your pastor accountable to make sure they are caring for themselves. Please check in on them. Ask how they are do-ing. Express a little care and concern. It will mean the world to them.
As always, Love ya
Canal District Office:
Rev. Ed Peterson
800 E Market St.
Akron, OH 44305
Phone: (330) 252-0299
Fax: (330) 252-0297
Monday through Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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