Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just another Wednesday?

There is a rhythm to the life of a parish priest. It is based first on the weekly liturgies and the work that goes into making sure they go well. Sermon preparation is ongoing starting Monday and, in a good week, might be completed by Thursday.
Then there are calls to folks who need checking up on, mostly for health reasons, and home communions. Youth Group is a weekly occurrence and some planning is required for that. We are a small enough church that there aren't a whole lot of meeetings and that's nice. I enjoy the ones we do have more that way.

But sometimes, a nice quiet week on the calendar can turn into a whirlwind of activity. The call asking for a ride to the doctor an hour and a half away. The day the phone rings off the hook like this morning. People stopping by for one thing and another - this morning's impromptu question about our theology of when the Spirit comes within us! - and emails that require attention right away or need more time and study before answers can be written.

My ex used to say there were days when all he did was put out fires. That's an apt description of the life of a priest. Even when it is a scheduled fire, like a meeting or a counseling session, it's still putting out fires.

No one teaches you how to do that in seminary! Although, if you listen closely when professors talk about their days in the parish, you can pick up the basic knowledge that life will often be about putting out fires. Still, the necessary tools are not sold in the bookstore or lectured about in any class.

The key is not to turn a match into a roaring blaze. I try to start by not adding any accelerant to the conversation. And listening, asking a few questions - bot not too many! - helps slow the burn. If we are lucky, the fire goes out as quickly as it began.

I am a fan of chaos so I don't want my days to be regimented and strictly ordered. But I did learn about organization when I was a librarian and I find it helpful to pull out those lessons now and then. Otherwise, I would need cloning in order to be in more than one scheduled place at a time. ;-)

Regardless of how long the day or how many unexpected events occur, today is in so many ways just another Wednesday. A day the Lord has made, a day I've tried to remember all I have to do and maybe even gotten most of it done. A day to be cherished and to give thanks for.

1 comment:

Andy Olivo said...

Thanks for the post Maggie. When I make it to the parish one day (Godwilling)I will remember not to go crazy when I realize that seminary didn't teach me everything.