This week I am a little bit demob happy - on Saturday I will begin a week's leave, and though it will not take me beyond the confines of Glasgow, I am really looking forward to it.
I am part of many Baptist Ministers' networks, and a common theme at the moment is fatigue, weariness, irritation and even burnout. There is also a lot of self-flagellation and guilt-tripping. My friend, and wise woman, Claire, wrote about this here. Indeed, I would recommend Claire's blog to anyone, she combines real honesty with lots of wisdom. And she likes maths, so she must be a good person!
In my last blog I made oblique reference to a couple of medical appointments. It transpires that my iron levels are low, and need a bit of a boost. So, in addition to my usual one-a-day multi-vitamin, I am adding in an over-the-counter iron supplement. Even just a few days have made a difference - though I have been pondering how much of this is simply down to knowing I am borderline anaemic.
It turns out that iron deficiency affects serotonin production, and depleted serotonin affects mood. For me it means I become decidedly irritable (also a sign/symptom of anaemia evidently!).
It has given me pause for thought because throughout lockdown I have done all the 'right' things, eaten healthily, exercised regularly, been out in the sunshine, and mostly had enough sleep, but even so my iron levels have dropped (according to my GP, I have somewhere along the line lost the ability to store iron). That all feels like a bit of a lived parable - we can do all the right things and still find ourselves weary, sad, irritable, or whatever it looks like for us. Sometimes we need some literal or metaphorical iron to give us a boost.
I am really happy to know that whilst I take a needed break, all will be just fine. Indeed, I think it will be a bit of an 'iron boost' for folk to have guest speakers for a couple of weeks. And I look forward to returning rested and refreshed for whatever comes next.
If you are the praying type, please remember before God those whose work is to serve churches and other faith communities as ministers or equivalents.