One of the questions which I am occasionally asked is “How do you relax?” A reasonable question, and one which is easily answered. Although every week is different, I do try to take one complete day off (a number of years ago Ministries Council suggested that ministers were entitled to two days off a week but that is, for most of us, a work in progress!)
In the years BG (Before Grandson!) I always aimed to take Mondays off, but if some urgent pastoral situation arose then that didn’t happen and it was sometimes difficult to take a day in lieu later in the week. I tried to fit in a visit to the gym, or go somewhere in the car, have a day in Edinburgh or Glasgow or occasionally lunch with a colleague.
In the years AG (After Grandson) Monday was the day we looked after him, exploring soft play areas in Edinburgh, and now in Haddington, playparks, the Library as well as Coffee Shops so that he could have his “Babycino” and marshmallow! In the days when we also looked after him on a Monday morning, the local café was where he enjoyed his buttered toast!
Nowadays the day off involves collecting him from pre-School at lunch time and then off to Jabberwocky Soft Play where Grandma and Grandpa relax while he plays with his friends. However, once his friends leave, I hear a little voice beside me “Shoes off, please, Grandpa, come and play with me on the Soft Play”! It is then I realise that I need to get to the gym more often! However, it is great fun and there are other Grandpa’s doing exactly the same.
Another means of relaxation is through music. I still try to get 30 minutes piano playing each day, and enjoy listening to music too. Occasionally there is a live concert to go to, but it means travelling to Perth Concert Hall or occasionally to the Webster Theatre or the Gardyne Theatre. Reading for pleasure tends to be during holidays.
I have always been surprised at how many of my colleagues rarely take their holiday entitlement and have few interests outside their parish work. I don’t think I could do my parish work without the times to recharge the batteries – and, yes, they can still be re-charged at the top level of a soft play area!
In the Gospels we know that Jesus took “time out” on a regular basis – time to recharge the batteries – and to get away from it all. By my reckoning, if Jesus needed to do that, how much more do we.
So, on Mondays, think of me relaxing in Soft Play, pushing a swing, playing with Lego, or reading “Thomas the Tank Engine and friends” as a little boy drifts off to sleep!