As I sit in bed working on this post that I’ll probably put up in a few days, I’m tired.  I’m worn out.  I’m exhausted.  And it feels great.  It’s a good tired.

One of the things that gets emphasized a lot for pastors is the importance of self-care.  Take your days off.  Take your vacation.  Being in ministry is one of those jobs that people expect you to be available 24/7.  Because a family crisis, a medical emergency, an untimely death – these things don’t tend to happen in the 9 to 5.  Because pastors work with people who often have full time jobs during the week, evening activities are a regular part of the schedule.  So, it’s important to relax, unplug, get away.  And, I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always do a good job of it.

The last few days that we spent in St. Louis were the first time that I’ve been able to get away for more than a day in nearly two years.  I had a vacation scheduled last April, but, unfortunately, two people connected to my congregation passed away and the trip was cancelled.  Turns out it was a good thing.  A week later, Katie was put on hospitalized bed rest.  Who knows what would have happened while she was attending this conference in Atlanta, which was the reason for us going out of town in the first place.

Last summer was rough.  After Hannah was born, we spent the next 117 days going up to the NICU (60 miles each day) before we got to bring her home.  The stress of the NICU was described as a type of PTSD by the counselor that worked the floor, and Hannah actually did very well during her time there.  Adjusting to life with a newborn was an adventure, but after a few months of averaging about 5.5 hours of interrupted sleep, it became about survival more than anything else.

When the new year hit, and Hannah was more consistently sleeping through the night, I finally felt like I was starting to catch up on sleep.  I was still tired… a lot… but I felt like a fog was being lifted.  I was starting to get some energy back, but I still didn’t really take any time off.  We were blessed to be able to go down to Brown County for a couple of days at the beginning of June, but two of the four days were my regular days off anyway.  So, as nice as it was (not to mention the renewal for my enjoyment of fishing!), it wasn’t as refreshing as I hoped it would be.

But, finally, last week, I took some real time off.  We went to St. Louis on Wednesday, including Star Wars Night at Busch Stadium.  Hannah got to see her first live MLB game in the stadium.  She did great, but it was hot and humid!  The Cardinals came away with a victory in Game 2 of a doubleheader.  We crammed ourselves into a tram and went up the Arch.  But, mostly, we just spent time together as a family with no pressures, no work, no need to rush any where.

We got home on Friday, and I was able to play softball (going 3-3 in a 13-3 victory, I think I finally snapped out of my slump!)  Afterwards, we were invited to pizza with some great people.  When we finally got home I realized something.  I was tired.  But I felt good.  I was tired, but rested.  I was tired, but it was a good tired.