Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Down and out in Cambridgeshire (no hills)

Not really down and out, but have had a couple of 'downer' days, overshadowed by going to see someone very sick indeed in our local 'mega-hospital' - Addenbrookes in Cambridge. This person is such a fighter, so defiant of any attempt to control her life that to see her helpless and wired up to umpteen machines and any number of tubes was a bit of a shock to the system. It really put the kybosh on my visiting for a couple of days so i have cracked on with getting my act together administratively and generally catching up with emails, phone calls and diary schedules.

It did make me reflect on the dangers of ministry in that we get to know and, indeed, to love these folk and sometimes have to see them go through hell and still be expected to keep going - often without support - and take the flack for all the difficulties the Church is going through, and the criticism for not doing things the way people want (normally in a style redolent of the archetypal 1950s/Carry on England style Vicar who spends all his (!) time on a bicycle drinking tea and visiting parishoners...)

There was some encouragement - in that for myself I had wondered if I was immunising myself to certain feelings by going through some pretty awful experiences with people over the past year or so - a lot of deaths, some of them tragic, many of them difficult (not all, but most). Some real struggles by people i care about where i have felt helpless and only able to offer a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. At some times I've wondered if I was deadening myself to other people's pain, or suffering from compassion fatigue - but yesterday made me realise that I still care, and if I do stop caring then its time to hang up me cassock and move on...

Its still such a privelege to serve these folk, even if all i can offer is tea, sympathy, a shoulder and prayers....

The prayers make a difference though.

1 comment:

Jem said...

Have been thinking of you since I read this.