Vicars have worries too!
I have endeavoured to make this blog if not a place of full disclosure, then at least somewhere I've been honest about things which have gone on, without mentioning names or places usually as I don't want to be either pastorally insensitive or seen to be critical of people.
It's difficult sometimes to know just how much to say about oneself on a blog, particularly being in a very public, very well known position. A position which carries with it some responsibility for the well being for the people and places in my care.
So when I found a lump on my neck, where my lymph gland is, I was not only anxious that it might be something sinister, but apprehensive as to how much I should share with people. Hence my recent silence. It is natural, for most of us, to think the worst when something like this appears, and I didn't want to worry my parishes without reason. Whatever my own personal strengths and weaknesses, the people in our Church congregations invest a certain amount of trust in their ministers, and we have the perhaps unenviable role of holding together these congregations whether or not we feel worthy of such a responsibility.
So, I thought it better to say nothing as, unlike in my last parishes where I didn't publicise this blog too widely, lots of people in the Churches around here have told me that they check out what I am saying every now and then - I also get feedback, good and bad, on the things I write; for which I am very grateful.
I do have a lumpy lymph node in my neck. It doesn't look as though there is anything sinister there, but the doctor is keeping an eye on things and I am under the care of a consultant in the regional hospital at Exeter. X-Rays and blood tests haven't (as far as I know) flagged up any issues in particular, and after an Endoscopy which looked at my throat, via my nose, there was nothing visible which caused the consultant concern. I told a few people about these tests and about the Doctor's concerns and was extremely grateful for the messages of support and the prayers I received since it was discovered. I am convinced that it is the prayer which has kept me going over the past few weeks, and I have had some moments where a deep sense of calm has overwhelmed me and have wondered who was praying for me at that particular time.
There's a kind of 'watching brief' on my lumpy neck at the moment, there are no signs of a tumour in my lymph node, but the consultant wants to see me in a week or so from now just to check me out. It's meant that I haven't wanted to say anything, rather than worrying people and has been enough of a distraction to keep me from blogging. Alongside this I had something of a cold and feeling of being generally run down, so though I have kept all my set appointments and been to meetings etc, it didn't seem appropriate to go and visit folk to whom I might spread my bugs!
For the time being, then, I hope that it will be business as usual, and i will catch up on this blog over the coming days and weeks when I have a moment. I do have a couple of sermons to put on the New Kid Deep Stuff blog, and lots of random thoughts noodling around my brain which have been put off whilst I thought about how to share this news. As I said in my last post, you might not be able to shut me up!