General Convention Self-Care
Or: Contemplating the level of sacrilege involved in switching communal wine with shots of espresso.
This schedule, dear friends, is no joke.
Throw in a few extra shifts at the EPF booth each day and attempts to eat, and it’s a wonder anyone is still standing (seriously, the blisters are out of control).
Sunrise to well after sunset, deputies, bishops, clergy, laity, and Episcopal Peace Fellowship Young Adult Delegates are working tirelessly to make a better church. The testimonies I hear at 7:30 am speak loudly to the dedication and passion of the people here. We are pressed, polished, and (mostly) caffeinated before the sun has finished rising; we are ready to put our hearts on a platter and grant glimpses into our souls in front of 80 strangers before most people have changed out of their pajamas. And that is just the beginning. After this comes Eucharist, then meetings, then a quick lunch, then more hearings (or a shift at the booth), then hearings, then quick dinner (unless it’s Sunday when no where in SLC is open…it’s a city wide Chick-fil-a), then, you guessed it! More hearings.
This has been the most physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting trip of my life.
Today, however, marked a turning point. I realized I was starting to look very similar to a Flat Jesus a youth group was passing around: deflated, faintly colored in, and lacking dimension. I don’t want to be Flat Jesus! I want to be three-dimensional, I want corners and edges and to be able to walk without a breeze knocking me down. I want to fill a room, not be shoved into someone’s back pocket.
This was when I realized that my self care was truly lacking. The three cups of coffee I had been pounding each day could no longer make up for the four to five hours of sleep each night. And it wasn’t just the lack of sleep that had me so pooped: it was throwing myself so passionately behind these issues, pouring my heart and soul into two minute testimonies and then not taking the proper time to let myself rebound.
“The only hands God has on earth are ours.” The only hands God has on earth are ours and my hands were stained, stretched in a million directions, and in desperate need of rest. General Convention is go go go, but God also invites us to seek out the silence. To detach. To take a step back. To remember that it is God’s work we are here to see done, not our own. As I jumped in to the cold pool at the Red Lion hotel, I felt myself melt. The stress and negativity was burned off by the chlorine. As I floated on my back, I felt the warmth of the sun press down on my face while the cool water held me up. And in the muffled silence of water filling your ears, I felt my soul heal.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”