On Friday I was up earlier than I would normally be on a day off as I had to go to the hospital. Whoever was doing Thought for the Day on the Today programme was discussing having a break from digital media as a kind of Sabbath observance which led me into thinking idly about clergy time off and the times I've discovered clergy taking a perverse pleasure in working for weeks without a break. A great priest of yesteryear who worked in Swanvale Halt declared that a clergyperson who didn't take a day off a week was essentially breaking one of the commandments and should 'examine his conscience'. Quite right too, I agreed inwardly as I drank my tea.
Just as I was about to set off the phone rang. I recognised the number: it was the son of Colin, who I saw in hospital back in August and with whose family he has been staying since he was released and they couldn't immediately find a suitable place in a care home for him (it's as well that Colin's daughter-in-law is a nurse). On Monday he seemed to be fading so I'd visited the house and done everything necessary: 'Thank you so much for coming,' Colin had said, having mumbled through the prayers in between drifting off to sleep and back again. This call was 8.30am so I thought I knew what that would mean, and so it turned out. I went round en route to my hospital appointment, prayed with the family, and with Colin's body. He reminded me of my Dad after his death, despite being over twenty years older. I was so glad I was able to be there, that Colin hadn't died when I was somewhere else or unable to attend.
It was hardly a disruption to my day at all, but salutary that straight after feeling so self-satisfied at refusing to do any work, I should find myself doing work.