First, some housekeeping. Some of you may have noticed that in the Facebook and Twitter worlds I am little more than an apparition. To those of who noticed and took the time to comment through the kind ministrations of others, thank you. The simple fact is that I discovered the hard way some of the dangers of social media, and felt that deletion was the right and proper action to take at the time. It was a tough choice, but a needful one, and the resultant hole in my mediocre life is not insignificant.
Secondly, my absence from blogging. I am a serious advocate of the view that if you have nothing worth saying, don't just say something to keep the hit rate flowing. Many bloggers fail in this and you the readers deserve better. I look back and see my own proclivities in the world of inane waffle and choose now to write only when a worthy thought (or not so worthy) emerges.
Thirdly, I have found time that I didn't know that I had. Take life and subtract Facebook, Twitter and pointless blogging and you are left with a hole that can contain the reading of books and the embracing of twins! I have managed to read "The Godseeker's Guide" (Rabbi Blue) and am fast consuming "If This is A Man" (Primo Levi) - who would have thought that I would find time to read. There are lessons to be learned about managing social media, but only from the stand-point of the former addict presently absent.
So, to the post. As a curate (and an idealistic one at that) I used to rail against the tendency to wind down ecclesiastical operations in time for the school summer holiday. I would be the first to observe that God didn't take a holiday so why should we. Oh, the simple life of curacy. My sainted Training Incumbent would do as he often did and utter "calm down dear" in the face of my protests. However, it is right to say that incumbency and all that Vicaring lark brings with it a more balanced sense of self-preservation.
The thing is, during August you have two choices (as the Vicar). First is that you tear yourself a new tailpipe upon the stress of wondering where everyone is (the simple answer being 'on holiday'). Alternatively, you can be realistic and take the lead of the punters and thereby take the size 11 from off the gas. A lack of self-aware honesty is probably a significant cause of clergy stress and burn-out (aside from poor gin, another cause). August is a gift for stopping, or simply slowing to a less frantic pace. As ever, we measure our ministries in the volume assigned to task and not to the quality of our life's own experience. The other way of putting it is that God probably needs more of me at Christmas and not in August. Even God is telling me to give it a rest - perhaps the Omnipotent One does take a break in Ibiza after all.
So, I have told the gang this end that during the summer holiday (framed and mitigated by the teaching profession, of which God is surely a member too) I will be less visible even if still available. I need to write, I need to pray, I need to rest and I need to think. For a whole manner of reasons, 2013 has been a shit of a year and I wonder if it isn't time to take ownership and make good. It isn't easy, that said, because this computer is an unforgiving matriarch who has a look - a knowing look - that observes that she has been neglected for too many moments.