by Robert Earl Houston
PORTLAND, OREGON – I have flown here from Kentucky to check on and see my mother, Naomi Houston. My has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for the past few years and as she continues to age gracefully (she’s 85), I have flown in to see about her, my aunt, and find some time to say hello to some people that I’ve grown up with.
As I write this, I am at one of my favorite restaurants that didn’t exist in this area (Portland Meadows – near the old horse racing track), Elmer’s.
I had my meal and drinking some decaf coffee. I can’t remember when I had the opportunity to sit in a restaurant and just relax. Before I came here we had three funerals on Saturday that affected various members of our church family. Played the organ and preached three and two times respectively on Sunday. Yesterday I had to get up at 5 a.m. (2 a.m. west coast time) to catch my plane and arrive here around 1 p.m. (4 p.m. east coast time).
But this coffee (decaf) has reminded me of serenity. Nothing on my plate, but just the noise of other patrons in the restaurant while I sit here, reading the news online – no calls, no texts, no emergencies, no fires to put out – but just able to relax my heart and my mind.
I think that there are multitudes in my profession (full-time ministry) that embrace their work like an alcoholic (guilty here) and work thru the night (I normally go to bed around 1 a.m.). There is almost a cyclical schedule that most of us do: Teach, then work on the next lesson; Preach, then work on the next sermon; add to the mix of correspondence, planning, vision casting, visitations, etc. Not to mention family functions and relationship building with your spouse.
But today, it’s just me and a cup of coffee. I want to advise all pastors in ministry – get a cup of coffee every now and then.