It's been one of those ministry sprints lately, both practically and emotionally. Let's see. . .in one week we had a member lose her house to fire, a newborn infant requiring surgery and the death of a former staff member/ beloved member of the congregation. The congregation admirably marshaled their forces for a 400+ person funeral, and now we're re-grouping for Holy Week.
And there's plenty going on among friends and family too, from the difficult but surmountable -- my best friend broke her wrist -- to the near-miss scary -- my brother-in-law hit his head and is hospitalized -- to the truly unfair -- a seminary roommate has stage IV cancer.
I vacillate wildly between feeling extraordinarily blessed -- I have a healthy family and a job -- to being just plain exhausted by it all and dreading the next phone call.
Which brings me to Europe. There's been plenty of cultural comparisons going on in the press this week with Obama across the pond for the G-20. Here's our own.
One of our German relatives, feeling unusually run-down, goes to see her family practice doc. He hears out her list of symptoms and stressors, looks at her tongue, and proceeds to write a prescription: for two weeks off of work. This is in addition to a week she was already planning to take off this month.
Can you freaking imagine such a thing in the U.S.? No, no, we heirs of the Puritans would be admonished to exercise to increase our energy. Or maybe given a sleeping aid. Or maybe we'd be further evaluated for anxiety or depression so we could be medicated. But rest? NOT working?! The whole reason our employers pay for insurance is to KEEP us at work.
Maybe this is why, despite the staggering costs, many businesses still dread the single payer.