Post performance blues

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Every year for a while in the summertime I take my pastor hat off and put on my “Kathryn’s husband” hat on. My wife is the artistic director for an arts organization called SouthEast Wisconsin Performing Arts (SEWPA). Their flagship program is called Opera ala Carte, and involves about 30 high school and college students, 30 elementary students, a dozen dancers, and about a bazillion volunteers. This year they did an amazing production of The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell and The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.

It pretty much consumes the Peperkorn household for about a month and a half. It is also more fun than one family ought to be allowed to have. Between building sets, singing, working on publicity, parades, and heaven knows what else, we all get in the act somewhere.

But it’s all over now. The kids are heading back to school or off to college. Things slowly return to normal. The sets are struck, the paperwork is coming, etc., etc., etc.

How depressing.

This has also gotten me thinking of how much this mirrors the life of the pastor. We go through cycles and periods of intense work and preparation, where it culminates and is then over in a short period of time. Lent. Easter. Advent. Christmas. VBS. This is interspersed with the daily work of the office that never ends (calls, weekly services, bible class, etc).

How do you manage these cycles so that they can have their own fulfillment, yet at the same time continue to look forward to what is coming next? I have a pretty obsessive personality, so it is easy for me to immerse myself in an event or an emergency or a place. What is hard for me is the daily grind. If I don’t have some big thing coming, I get bored, which makes me depressed.

How do you manage these fine lines of time and energy? Do you think there is a comparison here?

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2 thoughts on “Post performance blues”

  1. After a big church event, we try to do a family event. After Christmas is our wedding anniversary, after Easter, we take the kids to a hotel (generally a waterpark) and splash around a few days. Hobbies help. (I build model railroad style buildings, there is a small city in my basement). Reading ‘bubblegum books,’ ie. books that have no artistic or theological merit, help. (I felt somewhat guilty about this, until I read that Eisenhower always read a cowboy book at night…like on the night of D Day. If it works for things like that, a few parish difficulties are no sweat). These are the times that Jesus went on the mountain top to pray alone. If you can get away to do hiking or the like, go to it. I think the key is to do something that has to do with another one of our callings in life (and we all have more than one), to keep things in balance.

  2. Mastery and excellence are motivators. I feel like I'm in a grind if I'm doing things that have no impact on the world. Some would probably want to pin their hopes on the idea of repeating in the morning, "But all of this does make a difference." Trouble is, you're likely doing that. And it is motivating enough. But not like areas where mastery and excellence come in. I would wonder how those concepts could be brought in to bear on the daily.

    I have applied this to an office job before. Once when I was underused, I decided I was not willing to waste my time. I walked to a bookstore during work hours and bought a book on a new programming language. I ended up using the skill on the job some months later. It was of greater benefit to them than going through the motions of pretending what I was given to do was occupying my full mind. And I immediately felt energized

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