The more I value my privacy. That’s quite a challenge given the nature of what I do. Time was when I really used to enjoy constant social contact, both in work, ministry and socialising – now I value the times when I’m alone, or within the family. Last night I watched some Ice-Skating on the TV (something I don’t particularly like) but the joy was in the company, as the four family members who still live at the house were all present, even if two of them were playing on laptops. In our house, if the humans are off limits and the TV is poor, there’s always animals to observe and enjoy.
Many, many books about ministry go on at great lengths about setting boundaries between the personal and the public; the truth is that such boundaries always end up being permeable (to some extent). When you live at the precise location of your work there is always a temptation to work. Home then becomes a place where you can’t relax, which is bad. For the best part of fifteen years I’ve been pondering this stuff (sometimes obsessively!) and can conclude now that it’s as good as it’s going to be. I’m actually very fortunate that the parish I serve respects my privacy, which is quite rare! My house isn’t at the centre of the community, but a little way out, which means that people tend not to call ‘when they are passing.’ It’s therefore a little easier to allocate time sensibly and to work around interruptions.