All Courses › Forums › Course Discussion Forums › Burnout: How to Hold Out the Light Without Burning Out › Oates seminar / Burnout / Week 2 Thread › Reply To: Oates seminar / Burnout / Week 2 Thread
Paul C. Edwards
It goes without saying that all of us are extremely stretched right now. I have been struggling to keep up with the daily flood of e-mails as the leadership of our health system make constant changes regarding protocols in light of COVID-19. My department has almost come to a halt as we’ve had to suspend some critical ministry functions in an effort to limit patient interactions and inadvertent exposure to what is a potent but still largely “an unknown” attacker.
So, I have been struggling to focus on the readings for this week. (I suspect the same for the rest of you).
Anyway, having just finally completed the assignment, I’m going to share some reflections. The Compassion Fatigue article mentioned the need for a support system, in order to address the natural” phenomenon of compassion fatigue. I recall the days when I was fortunate to be a part of a department where I had peers to share with. I also lament the loss of colleagues who’ve retired and moved away, and who’ve passed away. That circle is just about gone and that was painful to read, but at the same time, strangely affirming. I do connect with non-Chaplain folks, from time to time. That has been helpful. I would go on to say that all helping professions need some group therapy and peer support system to maintain passion and energy as the work we do can be so energy-depleting.
The summary of Sanford’s book listed some pretty helpful tips, and that was the take-away for me. Too many caregivers don’t take the time, for example, to do something outside of, and different from work. For me, it’s repairing computers and gardening, for example. I deliberately move away from ministry functions when I am away from my facility. The longer I’ve been in ministry, the more self-aware I’ve become, and feel that if I don’t engage in that practice, I might not be able to recharge and go back to continue doing what I’m doing in ministry.
As for the Exhausted Ego, as referred in the Sander’s book review, I’m not so sure I’m completely convinced that Elijah suffered from an exhausted ego, although I see the point. I’d say, personally, and professionally, I might fall more on the side of being mentally exhausted. I suppose the degree to which an exhausted ego occurs is dependent upon how one views and claims one’s identity. Having come into ministry with a sense of a calling to the more pastoral care/counseling end, I tend not to see myself in the same light as some colleagues who sensed a call to the more traditional ministry roles.
Just some rambling thoughts……
I hope everyone is faring well. We are in God’s hands and God is in control. Let’s all keep those prayers going for our medical folks all over the globe who are in the trenches, and who are just as scared as everyone else is.