I live in a lovely, bright and sunny (albeit unimaginative and ugly) neighbourhood. Uncharacteristic of this place, there was a time earlier on in the year when it rained heavily every day. The sidewalks and bins were littered with broken umbrellas that did not survive the strong winds – from flimsy black ones, to sturdy umbrellas with impressive wooden handles. One fine day getting ready for work, I looked outside at the grey clouds and puddles and was instantly annoyed. Annoyed that I was going to be late because I had to change to a more waterproof coat, change my outfit so I can wear boots instead of normal shoes, then dig out my umbrella from somewhere in the bottom of a cardboard box…
But why did I feel so inconvenienced with a normal variations in the weather?!
Often the mishaps or conflicts in hospitals are as much an individual issue as it is a sign of bigger, systemic problems. What was the system problem here? When I was part of the uni fellowship, one of the most common prayer points was “time management”, which usually referred to day-to-day discipline to firstly study and not waste time, and secondly to make time for God. But what about rest and margins? Do we consider this in our plans for the month, the semester, the year?
I used to do quite well in this area when I worked full-time in the hospital. Hospital life was exhausting and I knew to be physically, emotionally and spiritually well, I needed time and space to sort out my life. I was careful in my commitments. Ironically, part-time and locum work opened up a world of things to be busy with, career and non-career related. Sometimes when I timetable to squeeze the last drop out of every hour, I need to remind myself to leave some gaps.
What about the relationship with God, the deeper connections with people that only happen when you give yourself sufficient time and space to nurture them? What about the evenings where you just can’t concentrate on anything, the days recovering from a long drive, the weeks when you’re sick and everything seems to take so much effort? What about the housemate who wants to talk when you’re in the middle of something, the friend who has a crisis, the family who calls when you’re just about to go to sleep? What about leaving enough gaps to be okay with the rain and appreciate the unexpected?