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Changing Tempo: Weekends 8 September 2012

Posted by Dr Moose in Changes, Life, Time.

All life seems to have a certain rhythm or pattern to it. We are each creatures of habit, some of which stem from conscious decisions and some of which are governed by factors, both internal and external, that are more or less beyond our control. This post is a result of them as much as a reflection upon them. I tend to think of myself as a light-sleeper, as well as having the default position of hearing other peoples’ conversations. I need to make no effort to do so and it’s only when three or more sources are clamouring for my attention that I need to really work at it. Unless, of course, it’s my children competing with the radio. The GLW is a rather sounder sleeper, once she falls asleep, and doesn’t do voices, or mornings. She would rather wake to music, I to the delights of the Today programme on Radio 4. While her idea of a lie-in is to sleep late, mine has always been to read or slob while a-bed. I rarely remember sleeping later than 10am, ever. Overlapping and conflicting patterns.

This morning is not just another reminder of that, awoken early by the girls and mildly annoyed at not listening to the news for the sake of, well, love – as well as LM insisting it was her exclusive job to make the morning hot drinks when all I wanted to do was make the GLW a peppermint tea.

This morning is a departure, a tempo change, and a fairly radical one at that. It is my first weekend in the new pattern of my working life. Last Monday I started as Full-Time University Chaplain, a post explicitly of 5 day weeks, Monday to Friday. There may, and will, be circumstances where work is required on a Saturday or a Sunday (like Welcome Weekend, next Weekend, or certain pastoral cases). There may, and will be, circumstances where I choose to engage in work-related matters on a Saturday or Sunday (like helping at an Open Day or visiting local churches in a broader “contact” remit, something I intend to do maybe once or twice a month). However, there is no expectation that I will work every weekend. Every Saturday. Every Sunday. Nor, clearly, expectations that I will work the majority of weekends.

This is a radical shift. After 12 years of ordained ministry, manifested in 6-day (or more often 5.5-day) weeks and with no more than 6 weekends off a year, and 3 years of training before that also with term-time expectations of Sunday placements, I now find myself back with a phenomenon that is unfamiliar, the weekend.

It is going to take some getting used to, as the children have retreated to the mess that is the little lounge (which needs to be tidied urgently by them, but that’s a different story) and as the GLW dozes. I have dreamed of weekends for years, and now the prospect is here, especially before the rhythm of Saturday orchestra comes into play, its all rather odd… and all the more time to write and think, and be.



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