Thank you!

No post for several weeks. In part because in everything that was happening it became difficult to say anything. The Christmas period in any church is busy, but for a variety of reasons this season seemed to be extremely full. Days and hours were filled with activities, but also full of emotion as events called on the depths of sorrow and the heights of celebration. Genuinely this year felt like an emotional roller coaster.

Ministry is often tiring, but this has been the first year where I have sat in the bathroom sobbing on the Sunday after New Year as the recognition set in that the only day off I had had in a fortnight was Boxing Day.

Four weeks on I’m on and I am on a more even keel and have felt the benefit of a couple of weeks where catching up on email and written work has been at the fore. Perhaps the next task might be to refind the desk and the study under the paper and the books.

For the first time ever the young people in the house managed to write thank you cards in the Christmas holiday period. Their mother however has managed to fail in the sending of the cards, and as I type I can see the cards waiting for me to address them and post them. Perhaps that might be the job for Sunday afternoon.

This manse family, no matter which congregation it has been part of, has received kindness and generosity from members of the congregation. One group of elders have always been particularly kind to their minister, and on Christmas Eve in the vestry an envelope with gift vouchers would sit on the desk. Another minister, I hope, enjoys that simple gift of appreciation. The young people have always done well, from winter coats, toys, book tokens to boxes of sweeties.

My concern in the length of time that it takes to get the thank yous written and posted is that people will not realise how much their gift has been appreciated. There is no doubt they are. The young people enjoy the wonder and surprise, and the notion that they matter to others. The gifts come as a lift to the minister, when tired and frustrated, that others care.

Of course a gift isn’t the ultimate means to lift a spirit. Instead kind words, space, offers of help, just being there – all carry their own significance. But you don’t usually write thank yous for these. These times are much appreciated even when those thoughts are not voiced.

Lots to fill the next few days, but a holiday is on the horizon. Time will be spent with the household occupants, and then there are a few days to myself as I age a little more.

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