Stepping Back

20 Mar 2019

"And coming up for re-election we have Des and Muriel," said the churchwarden, looking round the table. "We have Cheryl who has expressed an interest in joining the PCC (Parochial Church Council), and I assume that all of you here are prepared to serve another term?"

I swallowed hard and cleared my throat. "Erm..." I said. "Erm – I'm going to have to resign. I'm so sorry."

I expected frowns and silent disapproval. Instead I received sympathetic glances.

"Yes," said the churchwarden gently, "I've been thinking you looked a bit frazzled lately."

After the meeting, our Lay Reader (who conducts most of our services, since the vicar is on sick leave at present) engulfed me in an enormous hug.

"You've not been managing yourself again!" she said. "You need to look after yourself better!"

I have been a member of All Saints Church for nearly twenty years. Our two daughters were baptised at the old stone font and confirmed at the altar; my husband ran the Sunday school for ten years, and we have both sat on the PCC. The church is an integral part of our lives and we wish to serve it.

But I have too much on my plate. I am feeling overwhelmed and something has to give. I am making some hard decisions and giving up some roles.

I wrote a little while ago about finding your life purpose (Your Candle, 9th January). My purpose is to create beauty and generate joy. I'm not doing that by serving on the PCC. I'm not doing it chairing meetings at my bi-polar group; I'm not doing it taking minutes for the Patient Participation Group at my local GP surgery.

There are some duties I cannot give up: duties concerning my family. Not just my immediate family, but the wider family. As my mother grows older, she needs more help. To give that help is both a duty and a joy. I am lucky in having a close family; we're all nice people and we love each other. My mother lives just ten minutes up the road. But – it still takes time and energy.

There are only 24 hours in the day. We only have so much energy; both physical energy and emotional energy. There is a saying that you must put your own oxygen mask on first. It seems selfish to take time for ourselves when there is so much need out there: yet, if we don't, we will inevitably become one of those needy.

We must look at what feeds us; inspires us; gives us the energy to perform those tasks which must be done.

This is even more important when we suffer with depression. Our energy levels are already compromised, and we may need more emotional sustenance.

It may be a useful exercise to look at all the areas of our lives and all the hats we wear. What gives to us, and what takes from us?

And how do we balance that equation?


A Moodscope member

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