Thoughts about the Alberta Wildfires, Part 1…
Yesterday afternoon, I had a meeting with my old mentor, Jason. I was his intern in charge of the Young Adults while he was the Student Ministries Director at our old church, Morningstar Christian Fellowship. Now he is the Lead Pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in Edmonton, and I am an Associate Pastor at NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church in Fort McMurray.
With the evacuation of Fort McMurray, FBC Edmonton graciously offered us the use of their auditorium, and I was handling the logistics of this. And, having concluded that business, we continued chatting. We fell into our old pattern – just like our old “mentorship” meetings almost 5 years ago, in his dining room as we talked about life and the rigours of ministry. He mentioned to me the discipleship program that his church was doing, explaining that the writer of the book they were covering was a psychologist-turned-pastor. Then he said something that stuck me: “You know that you are emotionally drained when physical rest isn’t enough to refresh you.”
That was quite profound for me, indeed. Especially since I noticed that I have been constantly tired and sleepy since we evacuated from Fort McMurray on Tuesday, 3 May 2016. At first I chalked it up to just being physically tired, with all of the work and moving around that we were doing. But by the time of that meeting with Jason, it had been a week since the evacuation, and by then I had already had maybe 3 decent nights of sleep. More importantly, I am usually quite energetic during the summers, due to the increased sunlight. And of course, having like a dozen Starbucks near where I was staying in Edmonton, I was pretty much always huffed up on caffeine.
And so it occurred to me that maybe there was something deeper than physical tiredness that was behind my being sleepy and tired, but behind it an emotional drain as well that, surely, anyone who went through what I did must be experiencing. I’m not traumatized or anything like that. Although as I continue thinking about the things I did over the past week, I am more and more amazed by the magnitude of that experience. And so I am endeavouring to heal/rest emotionally over the next few days. First, by doing what I’m doing now… Journaling. But also, eventually, by taking some time of solitude to be alone with my thoughts and with God, “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:30).
So that’s what I’ll be doing with these blog posts… taking down my thoughts as I go through this process, so that I can be better and stronger emotionally in the end.