Recently I had the opportunity to make some apple and blackberry pies. The tree outside was shedding apples, the bushes were producing berries galore. I had the old-fashioned cookery book open in the kitchen, and duly followed its advice to refrigerate the dough before stretching it out below, around and above the apple and blackberries. It rested, and later the pastry held together.
If only we could do the same with all our overstretched workforces. Just give them some time to cool off and ‘rest’. Sadly what can tend to happen in the process of change and particularly where an already hard-working person is given extra duties, is that breakdown occurs. The pastry splits. This then becomes such a waste of everybody’s time and money, as sick pay is dealt out, and locum or supply workers are sought. Moreover, and by far the worst, somebody’s health is broken.
What is a Rector doing writing about the market economy when he is only trained in history, teaching and theology, you may ask? Workforce reconfiguration is a part of every economic shift. It sounds basic on paper, but in real life terms, people are deeply affected. There is inevitable suffering in the process of change. It could be that you yourself are one who has been so affected, or you know midwives or teachers or those whose role description has simply expanded without commensurate pay returns or support structures set up.
When we feel dislocated or squeezed, or where we again anticipate being stretched when we already feel at breaking-point, we need to find rest. The ‘rest’ scripture speaks of is not necessarily ‘time out’. But it is a place of reflection, to cool off, take a step back and view things in a truer perspective. At its heart, Christian ‘rest’ is finding Jesus and inviting him to be at the centre.
Listen to the song Jesus Be the Centre here.