Easter Monday

What do pastors do on Easter Monday? They take a nap.

Except, I probably don’t need a nap. My Holy Week wasn’t any more stressful than many other weeks. It wasn’t more busy. I’ve been getting plenty of sleep. And, I can take a nap whenever I want. Yesterday afternoon, after our Easter dinner, our son lay down on our couch while the children were playing around him and nodded off. He didn’t get to sleep very long, if at all. Soon there was another adventure going on. Children wanted to show him their projects. His parents wanted to talk. But for a few moments, no one was demanding his attention or his time. His mother pulled a blanket over him. Later, as they were preparing to head for their house he commented, “It is so nice to have a day when I don’t have to be in charge, when I can just go along with what someone else has planned.”

I could remember the feeling. There have been quite a few days in my life, when I longed for a few moments to take a nap and I took advantage of every opportunity I saw. There have been times when I was tired of being in charge, having to plan activities, and paying attention to make sure everyone else was finding our time to be meaningful.

It is very different being a retired pastor. But I can remember. And I appreciate how the pastors of the church in which we are participating need a little break from time to time to simply catch their breath and get some rest and renewal. I think pastors should take naps on Easter Monday.

Then, again, I can take a nap whenever I want and I often do, but I don’t take as many as when I was working full time and thinking constantly about the next problem to be solved. I still have problems to solve. We haven’t found a home to purchase yet. The inventory is low and the timing isn’t quite right for us to purchase a home. We’re living in a rental, and our monthly payments are simply gone. We aren’t gaining any equity. I worry a bit about money. I’ve always had a paycheck coming every month. Now that we are living on our pension, we have income, but less than when we were working. We are very fortunate and have sufficient resources, but I do worry a bit more than some other phases of my life. In two days we’ll receive our second dose of the covid vaccine, and perhaps we can worry a bit less, but there are plenty of young people who have not yet been vaccinated and the pandemic is far from over.

Still, I relax more. I can sleep in mornings when I want. I have time for hobbies and the pursuit of my interests. And I remember times when I felt more tired in my day to day living.

When they were visiting, my daughter said something about being wakened every night by her infant son. I said, “If you are any indication, I think you’ll get to sleep all the way through the night sometime when he is 26 or 27 years old.” I was teasing, of course, but you never stop worrying about your children and they can give you some pretty good worries when they are in their young adulthood years. What I didn’t quite anticipate is that the worries continue with our grandchildren. Are we saving enough for their college years? Does a particular habit or phase indicate some problem brewing? Will they remain healthy with all of the threats to health in our modern world? In the pandemic we wonder if they are getting enough interaction with other children. Separation from their peers at young ages is something neither we nor their parents ever had to face.

I’ve read that creativity is highest when there is a proper balance of structured and unstructured time. It takes a bit a leisure to free the mind for its best creative work. My own experience is that sometimes creativity is born from a bit of pressure. When I was working long days and had meetings every evening and was feeling tired most of the time, a brief moment, such as a paddle on the lake or even a long shower would help me sort things out and come up with creative solutions to problems. My Easter Monday naps were productive in part because I had worked so long and so non-stop all the way through Holy Week.

I doubt that I need more free time to be creative in this phase of my life. Perhaps I need a little more structure. I’m new at this retirement business and still learning. I feel like I’m being pretty creative when I put in a day of work digging fence post holes or mowing the lawn. I enjoy the feeling of being a bit muscle sore and tired after a good day’s work in part because I don’t have that experience every day.

I admit that Easter has brought me less a sense of a fresh start and a new year than was the case when I was working. I had trouble getting Holy Week to feel like Holy Week. A couple of times I was temporarily mixed up about what day of the week it was. It is a little strange for a pastor to have free time during Holy Week.

A year from now we will have developed some new routines. We will have solved some of the problems that occupy our attention right now. Hopefully pandemic restrictions on social interactions will be lifted and we will be worshipping face to face in a church building. I’ll learn how to be retired. I might even find just the right part time job. I have a substantial “to do” list and their is a stack of paper on my desk that needs to be sorted, filed and dealt with. I won’t be getting bored.

Still, out of habit or just for the pleasant memory, I might just take a nap today.