Friday, August 2, 2013

Vacation Blues

I’m feeling screwed and not in a good way, and besides I did it to myself.  

I took a week of vacation. We’d finished some big summer projects at church, and it was supposed to be quiet, and I could spend some peaceful time at home.  But did things slow down?


First, there were the medical emergencies--three different people in three different directions. No problem. Just make a few phone calls and I’d be done.

Well, one of them is a beloved 97 year old and she rated more than a phone call, so I went out to see her. And when they moved her to the bigger hospital out of town, I drove out to see her again. But that was okay because I like her. Everyone does.

And then there was the death. Every minister knows if they go on vacation, somebody dies. Pretty lethal when you look at it a certain way.  And the woman that died had no family, only her little community of loyal friends, most of whom came to my church. Since I was in town anyway, I’d just take care of that service, too.

And we ordered new video equipment that needed to be installed that particular week and I needed to be around to help. That was fine. It was different from working in the office. No problem.  It would still feel like a vacation, even while I reassured the naysayers: the ones who thought we spent several thousand dollars on something that wouldn’t work, the ones who thought it would make our sanctuary look ugly, and the ones who were afraid we were going to turn into one of those churches that went over the deep end with drums, guitars, snakes, and tongue speaking.  

And then there was the youth trip, where the van broke down several hours away. They tried to handle it themselves and not tell me, but they weren’t getting anywhere so finally they called me. It’s good to be connected--I was able to phone a couple of buddies and get them transportation back home.  But to switch vehicles--no one was available, so I drove that vehicle back to my buddy’s town--did I mention it was several hours away?  But I had the time because I was on vacation.  

And the week was over. I joked that it was good to come back to work so I could get some rest.  

But the truth is that I was so tired, all I could do was hang on until my next day off got here, which is today. I was so tired that everything made me furious or despairing. I had a major blow up not just with my wife, but my two teenage boys--I am so popular at my house.

One minister told that my mistake was that I really have to get out of town, far enough away that I can’t get back for anything and someone else would have to take care of things--600 miles usually did the trick.  Another friend said I shouldn’t call that vacation and I should reschedule another week. Which I would do but I’m looking at the calendar and it’s going to be a while.

So like I said, I’m feeling screwed and not in a good way.  


  1. I am sorry that your staycation blew up. Boundaries are really necessary but really hard.

    1. Bob, you'd think I could do a better job at that, with all the experience I've had at this life. Well, even at my age, I still know how to learn some things, so that's what I'm going to do.

    2. Read something today about the phenomenon of working vacations and wrote about it on my blog. Reminded me of your vacation a bit.

  2. You know, I think your minister buddy has a point there. The only way to get away from a 24/7 gig is to go somewhere with no cell service and no way for you to get back home to fix anything that goes wrong. I did the same thing when I was a network admin--I once ended up surrounded by a herd of grumpy pregnant elk in Northern California for a week to escape. People get by when they have to. Even so, as long as you were going to be floating around town, I'm still glad you could visit those sick folks and do the funeral. I'm sure those folks are grateful that you took the time to do that. It's very sweet to see someone so dedicated to his people.

    1. Thanks Cassidy. You know, taking care of the people--that's the part of the job I like. It's the office work and committee work that I can get to hating. But while I love caring for the people, it does have a cost. O well.

  3. I hear that Tennessee is nice this time of year.
    Book a hotel room and hit the high road. It is difficult when you are the pastor. You are the dad, the brother, the confessor...the everything guy.

    Or, quit and be a bouncer at a strip club. I hear tell the benefits are nice....