When we are in any kind of leadership position, whether at work or at home, we are many times called upon to "be" a certain way, be available for those whom we are called to serve and lead, put things aside and focus on the issue that has come to our doorstep. Finding time to refresh ourselves, to recharge our batteries is a vital aspect of being a leader, and ironically this is one of the hardest things for people in leadership positions to learn to do.
We have a perfect example of this conundrum in our Gospel today. The disciples are back from the healing mission Jesus sent them out on: back, excited and probably exhausted. There is a hullabaloo going on around them and Jesus says Okay, let's get away from all this craziness around us. Let's go over to the other side of this lake where there isn't anybody around so we can decompress some and chat. So off they go to find a more quiet place to help them process what they have just been through, but the crowd sees where they are going and race around the lake to get there before them. Off the boat they get, ready for some down time, and the hullabaloo is all around them still. Imagine their reaction....imagine our reaction when we face a similar situation.
We are told Jesus had compassion on them when he saw the swarms of folk....He had to have given a deep interior sigh though.... A Oh gosh, okay, here we go. And he responded to them, as did his disciples. We are then provided with Mark's version of the feeding of the 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. After this, when all have been fed, comforted, healed, Jesus went up on the mountain to pray.
Jesus models a prayerful life for us which aids him in fulfilling his mission and ministry. Being able to say Enough is an important part of self-care....recognizing our limits of what we are able to do and when we can no longer be effective without some downtime, some prayer time, some time of refreshment and peace. As leaders, and all of us somewhere in our lives are leaders whether we want to admit this fact to ourselves or not, all of us need to be cognizant of this basic truth: that if we don't care for ourselves, we cannot lead and serve others.
Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.