Thursday, August 17, 2006

August Blues

Is it sacreligious to say that I'm looking forward to the end of the vacation season?

Ministry in Amsterdam in August depresses me. I know that it's a horrible time of year to accurately gauge the health of a church or home group or life group or staff team -- but still... it can be challenging to feel so alone and so meaningless in a people-based profession during a month when so many people are in and out of town. At our home group on Wednesday, it was just four of us (and the other two that came, apart from me and Marci, were basically coming to say their good-byes before a two year leave-of-absence). Business-related tasks take twice as long to complete because phone messages, e-mail messages, and mailed documents experience a universal "vacation lag." Other aspects of ministry are basically paused for another couple of weeks until everyone gets back in town again.

I have to keep reminding myself that there can be no sense of expectation in the face of such irregularity... And it helps to remember that it's not just ministry. Our neighborhood butcher shop is closed until the end of August. The closest bakery that we frequent is in the middle of a four-week hiatus. Half of the shops on the next street over are closed during the month of August... It's such a strange and bizarre experience for me each year.

I know that it's normal. I remember that I end up feeling this way every year, toward the latter half of August. Still, I'm anxious for a return to normalcy!


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