Blog post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
It’s been a long time since Marilyn and I have taken a vacation together. Somewhere between getting kids through college, living apart for two years with very demanding jobs, beginning new work for each of us in 2017, life hasn’t allowed the rhythm for us to just get away together. This year we planned a nice Alaskan land and sea cruise. We spent the past 10 days enjoying scenic Alaska. This included seeing bears, wolves, moose, caribou, whales, and eagles. These were against a landscape of mountains, glaciers, oceans, rivers, and trees. The sea cruise portion was a time to be pampered, served, and simply have fun.
We also took this time to disconnect from our electronic gadgets. No internet, texting, email, or phone calls. I found this to be difficult at first, but then it became another source of relaxation.
I learned a lot by going off the electronic grid. First, my life is filled with noise. I am bombarded by information, whether I ask for it or not. Many times, I go on the internet to look something up. When I open my browser, I am hit with so many stories and advertisements, I often forget what I went on the internet for! I’m to the point of having to first write down what I’m looking for, before browsing (Am I the only one having this problem!). And the news is like hearing one blaring scream after another. It’s as though the only thing that matters is what makes me worry, afraid, or angry.
I also learned that it is important that the office can function in the short term without me (or any particular employee). The presbytery office must be able to do the work of the presbytery for a brief time without my input, suggestions, or direction. The same principle applies to our congregations, chaplaincies, counseling centers, or other areas in which ministers work. They must be able to function for a short period of time without the key employee. We all like feeling important. But it is unhealthy to have a system designed around the work of one person. By occasionally withdrawing from the system, we are able to see how others need to step up, and what areas need to change or be supported.
I’m fully plugged back in now. I am returning to work with a spirit of gratitude for the opportunity to serve as your Transitional Presbytery Leader. I am looking forward to a future of great adventures in the life of our presbytery.
Rev. Craig M. Howard