In our family we have a tradition of sacred Fridays. As I became a pastor when the church launched last year, our family had to adjust to what it was like to have Papa working on Sundays. Don’t get me wrong…it doesn’t feel like work the same way it is for those checking into a mill or putting a 20-hour workday on a salmon boat. But the reality is everything in our family revolves around being at Bethany North on Sunday mornings. If you’re not careful as a pastor, you can end up without ever taking time off, with the people suffering most from this being pastor’s spouses and their children.
We definitely stumbled a bit on this last year and found ourselves in a place by late spring where we as a couple realized we needed to take days off so that we could reconnect as husband and wife and create memories with our kids. Sundays-Thursdays end up so packed with all of life’s to-dos we needed to create a ritual around taking Fridays off. Thus, Family Fridays was born.
Fridays now consist of dropping the kids off at school and staying for chapel, doing family yoga with Harper at the YMCA, then lunch as a couple or putting Harper down for a nap and relaxing around the house. We pick the kids up from school together at 3 and then the family time begins…a trip to a park, or a hike, or simply heading home to relax at home. And quite often we do a great family dinner and a movie as a family. It is priceless time as a family.
None of us can slow down time and I loathe the hurry-up pace of our current situation, but the reality is that life is full right now. It’s full of tremendously important things that we are doing trying to make an impact in the world. Do I long for the quiet life at times? Daydream about a month alone in a cabin, by the fire, writing the great American novel? Sure…I bet we all do on some days. But God has called us here, to the city, pastoring a church, leading a family of 5, deeply involved in our friends and children’s lives. And though it is busy, it is rewarding. The trick is not to be controlled by the chaos and buried by the busyness. For me, I need down days. Quiet times. And connection with those who love me no matter what. There was an old Ani Difranco song that always reminds me of my wife. It goes,
You say, “Did they love you or what?“
I said, “they love what I do.’
The only one who really loves me is you.”
To be known and to be near those who you love is beyond valuable. It is essential. And though I don’t always get this right, I’m stumbling along trying to make time for rhythm and rest and my relationships. I hope you have some days like this with your people too. We need it.