Outside the day was darkening. Between the cracks of the blinds on my office window I had glimpsed the glow of a raspberry sunset an hour or so before, but turned back to the electric light of the office to continue a determined attack on the most urgent items on my desk, trying to finish them before leaving.
I wasn't the only one working late. In the next office, one of my team was working hard to complete the day's work. He answered the phone to a call from home, asking if he would be on his way home soon. We hurried each other along then. Some things can wait, but a little boy at home grows up when you turn your back for just one moment. We gathered our briefcases and put on coats to leave, saying that we would see each other in the morning.
Our manager of pastoral services was coming the next day to do a morning's presentation to the whole team on Soul Care for the Caregiver. None of us felt that we had time to break away from all that we had to do, but we knew we couldn't afford not to.
And so we gathered this morning at our home; a quiet retreat, with scented candles burning to welcome people, and fresh pots of coffee. One by one they arrived, until there were 9 of us and Mark, the pastor doing the presentation.
He started the presentation with a Pre-Quiz and thank goodness we didn't have to share all of the answers. They asked:
1) What time did I go to bed last night?
2) How much sleep do I normally get?
3) What was the last meal I ate?
4) Who were the last 3 people I lost my temper with?
(Susan, who was there, looked over and announced that it was me she last got mad at, in August, but she didn't think she'd lost her temper with me since. Phew.)
5) On a scale of 1-10 how busy am I?
6) Who would I really like to talk to that I haven't talked to in a while?
7) What is my prized possession?
8) Who is my best friend?
9 Whe was the last time I prayed?
1o) What did I pray for?
11) If I didn't have this seminar today but had free time instead what would I do?
We only had to share our answers to questions 6 and 11. The answers were interesting.
For question 6, some said a brother or sister, or someone in heaven. My answer was someone I just got a Christmas card from; a dear elderly man who lost his wife in April last year, and who I've meant to connect with ever since. I have felt guilty because I haven't and when I got his card it felt as if the door swung open again.
The funniest answer came from someone who said that she would want to call her friend, because, she said, "Her life is worse than mine." :)
Our answers to number 11 varied as much as we do too. Some said they would go shopping, or clean, or visit friends. I said that I would write Christmas cards!
What I want to remember from the day is: To rest before work; to let him do his work in me before I do my work for him. Mark reminded us that the Jews count the beginning of a day at the sundown of the day before, so rest comes before work, not after it.
Why don't you take a moment in the busyness of your Christmas preparations to think about the questions and maybe share your answers to 6 and 11 with us?
Isaiah 26:12 (New International Version)
12 LORD, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us