What Consumes You?

It’s 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning. My husband, the Reverend James L Perry has left to give his preach at a church in Coquitlam. Jim is an ordained minister with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. At present he supplies pulpit relief as required. Think TTOC, but in church – PPOC (pastor preaching on call). He’s a busy man who also holds down a day-job as Project Coordinator with a company that supplies and installs millwork.

Between the two of us we have a large family including my 79-year-old mother, my 81-year-old father, our 6 adult children (most with spouses), and our 9, soon to be 10 grandchildren. We are a busy couple.

Throughout our lives we continue to sort through what matters. To-date I’d say we have landed in a place of mutual admiration for who each of us have become. Work wise, I’m blessed to have a spouse, who while not in education, has had similar experiences pastoring in churches. Administration is administration is administration. When I come home exhausted with frustration, or overflowing with delight, he’s here to listen. He’s my sounding board. He’s my go-to when I’m stuck. He cares about and understands people. He is a good man.

This morning I am reminded anew that the thoughts that consume me will direct my path. Yikes! Do I want the debate about twittering in primary classes to direct my path?How about ‘what to do with the 3 – 5% of students who are hijacking their classes with disruptive behaviour’? Should that direct my path? I’m sure you get my point.

That which consumes me will either ground me or burn me out. The paradox is that in order to be effective in my work, I must be able to turn away from that work. There is a need to replenish my heart, soul, and mind. I must continually return to that which provides a grounding to live my life well.

So back to my beloved Pastor. One of Jim’s repeated messages to me is to ‘finish well’; short-term, as well as long-term. It could be because I’m home alone on a Sunday morning that I wonder how I’m doing. Am I pacing myself? Am I all in? All in for what truly matters?

Many years ago, while struggling through a dark time, I was given these words: “And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places.” If you are familiar with scripture you’ll recognize them from Isaiah 45. This phrase came at me from many directions, so much that I was forced to pay attention. I smile as I write this because almost two decades later I can say that out of that darkness I was given many treasures; insight, compassion, understanding, a firm foundation, love, even a bit of wisdom.

This morning I’m reminded again, that while there are treasures to be discovered in darkness, there is also a responsibility to stay balanced, to allow for the restoration of my soul; to clear out that which creates a muddy confusion. If I don’t hold myself to that illuminating fire, then how long will I be able to lead well.

What does it take for you to be grounded? What consumes you? What restores your soul?

As always I live with the hope that better is indeed possible.


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