15 July, 2006
Vacation Now Means No Cell Phone!
We made it home from Orlando late last night and began wading through the mountain of mail and email messages. I still have to go see what mail awaits me at the church... which I know most of will probably be bills (just like the stuff at home) so I really don't want to see it.
We had a good time on this trip, although I have learned a painful lesson. From now on, my cell phone will not be making the trip with me! I took it so that in the event of an emergency I could be reached, but that was a mistake. I had to deal with over 30 calls from church members before I finally stopped answering the phone. A couple of the calls were pretty important, even though there was nothing I could do for them but pray. Somehow, I don't think people realize that a vacation is designed to get one away from the stress and pressures of the job at home. The stress level just increased knowing that people needed me and I could not be there. Frustration levels increased because time with my family was put on hold, or lost altogether while I spent literally hours on the phone. I love my people, but I wish they would think about my needs too.
The word "vacate" means to leave... to get away from. I guess this does not apply to a pastor. Life as a pastor means you are working or on call 24/7, so vacation is the same.
People want the pastor to be accessible, but when and where does it end? Phone calls at 1:30 in the morning for an emergency are a part of the job for sure, but it should be an emergency, and not just wanting to talk. That is abusing the relationship with the pastor.
Next vacation will be a "vacating" for sure. The cell phone is NOT going with me.