Recently, thanks to my episcopal review, last week's retreat and a determination to avoid the dreaded burn-out, I've been spending some time pondering routes to a balanced life. Despite all the issues that I took with me, I know that by the time I left Llannerchwen last Friday I was properly present to myself, to others and indeed to God in a way that the breathlessness of parish ministry often precludes.
There are so many times here when, though I am trying my hardest to engage fully with the person in front of me, I'm horribly aware that I'm about to be late for the next appointment or am wondering what saying "Yes" to this particular request might mean for an already loaded diary...
That's just no good - for me, or for those whom I'm here to serve so it was a huge and wonderful blessing to come home without that sense of things pressing in which characterises life so much of the time...and it's a blessing I am keen to hold onto.
A bantam-buying expedition on Sunday and a flying visit to see Hugger Steward yesterday evening (OK, it's mad to drive to Cambridge and back for the sake of a 3 hour visit - but it was most definitely worth it) have helped so far, but I know that there are too many things clamouring for attention and it's hard not to be alarmed by them....
or at least, I was until a phone call with the son of the lady whose funeral I took this afternoon.
He, bless his heart, has been his mum's main carer throughout her illness and, like so many in his situation, finds himself somewhat lost now that she no longer needs his constant presence. He has mobility problems, which, he said, were now rather a blessing
"I'm glad it takes me longer to do things...it means I won't have so much time to fill now"
Perhaps, rather than agonising about the state of my diary I should just be thankful that there IS so much to get up for every morning.And, while the sun is shining, get out to walk the dog.