Sunday, July 15, 2012

Burnout

It's been too long since I last added to this blog.

Partly, it's because I've been looking forward to transitioning my blog to another site: www.threemenwalkintoablog which is going to open soon (I've been saying that for a while, but I really mean it this time).

Three men walk into a blog?

Yep, three authors: James Rubart (bestselling author of Rooms), Dan Walsh (bestselling author of The Discovery) and myself, joining forces to blog about literary life, Christian issues, writing tips, men stuff, family stuff, marriage, current issues, faith, missionary life and just fun.  We've been talking about this move for some time. We want the blog site to be informal, but we won't avoid tough topics, either. It will be a conversation, three friends sharing life with all the warts and back hair (OK, I don't really anticipate talking about back hair, but you know what I mean): we aren't going to polish the appearance of the Christian walk so that it's not recognizable. We are Christian men, but we are men in need of grace.  So you won't get platitudes or pedestals. Hopefully, we can be transparent and insightful.

Another reason I've avoided blogging lately.  I think I'm as close to missionary burn-out as I've ever been.  There's nothing really serious going on, no extra spiritual war (although maybe discouragement is an enemy attack), and no relationship problems.  I think it's a combination of things.

I've allowed myself to listen to the rumor mill too much. I live on a Kenyan mission station where a lot of the work, rightfully so, has been turned over to national staff. Recently, I've gotten an earful of reports of corruption among hospital and station leadership and staff. Some of it is phooey. Some of it might be real. Temptation to twist things in your favor financially (and outright stealing)  runs strong in this place where most of the staff live close to poverty levels.

When I hear rumors, mostly I just keep my head down and keep working. There is so much good going on in this place; so many people getting medical care, and so many people coming to faith in Christ.  I need to remind myself of this when I hear the negative wind that blows.  The Bible tells us to not be weary in well doing. Hebrews 12:1-3 encourages us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we will not become weary and faint.  So perhaps, I've let my eyes slip from their focus on Christ and on to disgruntled or jealous worker-reports.

Another source of discouragement is seeing a series of poor outcomes (deaths) among our patients here.  We are often the last stop in care, unlike in the US where I could always make a referral of a tough case down the line to the University hospital.  Here, if we don't offer care, it usually won't get done at all. That means we often try difficult and complex surgeries as a last resort. Sometimes, we rejoice in a good outcome. Sometimes, we are sobered by our failures.  Surgery is like that: results, good and bad, are often apparent quickly.

Anyway, I'm trying to fix my eyes on Christ!

So that explains the photograph: it was the closest thing to a picture of burnout I could find. And besides, I love motorcycles. It's been a character flaw since I was a young boy and took my first ride on a friends minibike purchased from the local hardware store.

Some good news:  I'm returning to the US, leaving in two days!  I'm coming home for a month and get to see my second son get married.

So relief from this work is on the way. Pray that I'll returned rested and ready to work again.

Grace to all my readers,
Harry

5 Comments:

Steve Peifer said...

So well written and so spot on.

Margaret said...

Harry
While I am not a practicing Christian per se I really do see and quite understand the burnout you feel. I try to work in anti horse slaughter. Our group is small, grassroots and so financially we are not super well funded.

Our enemy has DEEP (and I mean deep) pockets that don't always see the truth about horse slaughter.

Some days are really tough. It can be bad news from the moment you open your eyes.

We have folks that pass on bits here and there of good news and we eat that, savor it and sometimes when we are really down someone posts those messages again.

American's don't raise horses for slaughter. The horses are given all sorts of drugs that are not meant for human consumption. Phenylbutazone (horse aspirin) is one of the biggest culprits. As you know this drug was approved for humans in the late 40's for people with severe arthritis. Then the side effects came and the drug was taken off the market.

The pro folks tell you that Bute (as its known) leaves the bloodstream within 30 days for horse slaughter. That may be true. What they don't tell you is Bute goes into the tissue that humans eat.

There is no safe amount of Bute you can have in your system. Illness may not show for days, months or even a few years. But lookout when it does! Leukemia, kidney disease other organ failure.

This is what I'm fighting for. That we don't waste taxpayer dollars funding USDA inspections so the meat can be sold be overseas. We don't eat horsemeat in this country. Horse is no longer used in dog food. The dangers so far outweigh the risks.

The good news here is the EU has listened. While there is much work to be done to close the wide open gaps in what is going--the EU has tried to take steps to stem poisoned horsemeat from being sent to Europe via Canada and Mexico where horses are sent everyday to the worst death known to man.

It's neverending, it's sometimes feels so much beyond us.

As hard as it is stay from the grapevine until you know something is fact. Then worry if you must. Try to stay the path, bolster each others faith, and keep positive.

Mocha with Linda said...

The blog sounds exciting. Love the title! I'm at ICRS & I just met James Rubart last night and I'm looking forward to meeting Dan Walsh in person tomorrow; we've chatted on FB and via blog. Love his books. Y'all would make a great combo.

I'm sorry that you are struggling a bit. I'm glad you have an opportunity to have some time away, especially for such a happy occasion. I pray that it will refreshment you and renew your spirit.

jel said...

safe trip home.

and Congrate & blessing on #2son's wedding.

Dan Walsh said...

Harry,
Looking forward to finally getting our blog together up and running, too. So glad you're getting a month off back in the States, especially for something as richly rewarding as your son's wedding. I hope you and your family have a blast and make some wonderful memories together. Hope to have something solid about jump starting our blog by the end of the week. Will let you know. Safe travels, Dan.