October is clergy appreciation month and this Sunday is Clergy Appreciation Day. It is one of those celebrations that very few people actually know about and even fewer actually celebrate. I don’t expect people to say thank you to me for the work I do, but it does my soul a lot of good when they do. Especially when I am struggling with my depression and PTSD.
I wrote almost a month ago about the statistics concerning clergy. It is rather eye opening to see the number of clergy persons who struggle with mental health issues, financial struggles and educational inadequacies. I struggle with all three of those and sometimes all at the same time.
I try to keep my posting on social media and my blog postings here light and upbeat, but even that can be a struggle at times. Sometimes though, I need to just talk about the dark times and let out the sadness that I feel.
In many cases, I turn to fellow clergy for this support. And I have so many great people who love and support me. If it were not for them, I would not be here today. You see, I am one of those sad statistics concerning clergy. In the past, I have twice tried to commit suicide. Thankfully, I failed both times. (Or this blog post would be a Halloween spooky story of posting from the great beyond!)
Clergy are there for people on the darkest days of their lives. We stand with you when you have lost loved ones, suffered heartbreak or divorce, or have lost everything and are facing financial or physical ruin. We cry with you, laugh with you, pray with you, counsel you and stand with you when others walk away.
And I love helping others so much. All of us do to some degree or another or we would not be clergy. Sometimes it hurts to hear what people say about us and think about the work we do. I have been told by people that I need to get a “real” job. Others ask me if I am a child molester. Some question whether or not I am educated enough to do the work of the ministry. And some seem to go out of their way to say the most hurtful things possible to wound me.
And yet, I still answer the phone and show up at the hospital when needed. I still provide care and concern for those who have hurt me most. Because that is what I am called to do.
Take time today to thank your pastor for all their hard work. Thank them for being there when you need them most. Show them some small sign of appreciation for their dedication to a calling that we can never shut off.
You might actually help save them from a very dark day by doing so.