‘Vicars only work one day a week, don’t they?’ I’m not convinced every person who says that to me is joking! But I can assure you it’s definitely not true.
However, this Sunday I am not working, I am not taking a service or standing in the pulpit at St Denys. I’m coming to the end of my post-Easter break and have spent the week beginning to get my head and body into a good place to take on the challenge I have set myself.
After hearing the great stuff our Royal Princes have been saying is week, I think I can safely and freely admit to having shed a few tears … again! The more I think about this walk, the more I think about Andy. And just as I thought I had got a handle on my grief, it comes back with a vengeance.
I know I’m not the only one to lose a brother, I’m not the only one to lose family members to VHL, and I’m certainly not the only one to struggle with grief, but I’m a vicar! Aren’t I the one who is supposed to have an endless supply of comforting words and messages of hope for everyone else?
Well, yes, I do have hope in God and I hope I can offer some comfort, but more often than not, I just want to say that grief is crap. It’s unpredictable and it’s overwhelming. Last week we took our children to the cinema to see The Boss Baby of all things, and I wept buckets in the foyer afterwards just because the big brother in the film wrote his new little baby brother a letter at the end telling him how he’d always be there for him and promising that they would grow old together.
Sunday for lots of people is a day to stop and take some time out, maybe to think about God, maybe to spend time with the family, but one way or another it’s about time to process the rest of life. Sundays are rarely like that for me – my busiest day of the week if not my only working day! But this Sunday I too have a chance to reflect, and as I continue to prepare mentally and emotionally as well as physically, I’m discovering there’s a lot to think and pray about.