We’ll see how that goes

As 2008 wrapped up, I thought some sort of sabbatical would be in order, maybe six months off from prison ministry. Burnout is always a risk in pastoral care. Vigilance is of the utmost importance.

Six months, though, seemed too long, and I feared that intimidation would slowly creep back in. After all, it took nearly two years before my stomach stopped tightening as I turned down the final road and approached the prison. It isn’t the population of felons that causes the intimidation. It is the place itself.  Being confronted with nine locked and remotely controlled doors before I stand at the final door … a cell door … gets under one’s skin. Hand scans and showing an ID along with signing in from time to time serve as a further reminder of the ultra-secure monitoring of my every move throughout the complex.

So, perhaps every other month for the entire year. That notion lasted until an offender asked when he would see me again. February didn’t seem a very warm answer as the holidays drew near.

Therefore, no sabbatical this go around. Not even a lessening of the number of visits. I am, however, reducing the load per visit. We’ll see how that goes.

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