A day with no agenda: Time to enjoy the world

Even my mother joked that her youngest child emerged with an inclination to save the world. Despite my middle class / Long Island housing development / bourgeois origins, I discovered World Sorrow early and wanted to spend myself on the Greater Good. What else could I have been but a minister?

In my vocation I took Paul’s guilt-provoking admonition to “be all things to all people” with staggering literalness. I started my day scanning the horizon for disaster via local, national, and international news. My car was an annex to my office, as were jails, courtrooms, diners, hospitals, and psyche wards. Wherever my parishioners went, I went. I prayed my way through the church directory and along the marginalia of that same directory where nonmembers hovered in the white spaces the same way they sat uncomfortably in the back pews ready to bolt.

The mighty river of urgency fed into my innate ocean of anxiety. Add to this a sense of duty, workaholism, perfectionism, and not-quite-but-pretty-close-to-pathological people-pleasing, and you get much “vanity and striving after wind” (Eccles. 1:14). Not to mention burnout.