More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them. -Henri Nouwen
I wrestle with this, especially as our church grows and the needs mount and people start expecting more and more "stuff". Then there is your own inner self that seem to feel the pressure from without and within to "be" something more, do something more, provide something more and on and on it goes. One of the blessings and challenges of living in a neighborhood where your church gathers and more and more members live; is the reality of there always being some place to go, someone to visit, something to do. On one hand that is a major blessing and practical way to share life and Jesus. But it also means that your private world or chance for "solitude" diminishes as well.
Suburban and commuter life pastoring has its downsides but one thing I miss sometimes is the feeling of pulling up into your own private home and lowering the draw bridge and parking and then raising it and feeling that you were "away or done". Strange how sometimes we can love and hate something at the same time.