Monday, September 12, 2011


I’m sitting on the deck at the hermitage with a cup of tea as a result of remembering something last week.  What I remembered what something I used to know, but I forgot it.
This is what I remembered: a clergy-woman who was dying of cancer who looked at me, at the end of my first year of ministry, and said passionately, “You are killing yourself.  If you keep up like this you will be no good for yourself or anyone else.  Right now, tell me how you’re going to get a day off for retreat, next week.”
And this is what I remembered: my spiritual director saying, “An hour a day, a day a month, a week a year.”  That’s the golden rule for keeping balance—that much time just silent, just listening.
I did this when I was serving a church—half a day a week at a silent place, sometimes doing little more than sleep or watch the ocean.  I teach this when people come on retreats or work in spiritual direction.  But somehow I forgot to do it myself these last months.  It took a friend telling me that I looked “fragile” to know there was a problem.  So that’s why I’m on the deck with a cup of tea and no phone, no internet, no agenda for the day; watching the robin look for worms, listening to the dog across the creek bark, looking for the bear that walks through the back field, waiting for the silence to flash back into my soul.

Therese DesCamp

1 comment:

  1. As followers of Jesus, we need not be reluctant to cross to the other side of the "lake" to find regular (and adequate) respite. The so-called Protestant "work ethic" is quite contrary to the richness of life that is available to those who would stop (without self-imposed guilt) to draw life in. In so doing, we are better able to serve those who count on us. Spend more time on the deck...drinking more tea. There is no virtue in exhaustion - especially in ministry. Duncan.