At a conference in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King stated: “Burnout is a surrender… We have just so much strength in us. If we give and give, we have less and less and less–and after a while, a certain point, we’re so weak and worn, we hoist up the flag of surrender. We surrender to the worst side of ourselves, and then we display that to others. We surrender to self-pity and to spite and too morose self-preoccupation. If you want to call it depression or burnout, well, alright. If you want to call it the triumph of sin–when our goodness has been knocked out from under us, well, alright. Whatever we say or think, this is an arduous duty, doing this kind of work; to live out one’s idealism brings with its hazards.”
Once a quarter, the Open Table slows things down in our work to take time to take care of ourselves, to sit in song, meditation, and prayer and restore those things in us that are life-giving. We do this following the model of the Taize community.
The Taizé community is an ecumenical monastic order with a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation. The community of nearly 100 Roman Catholic and Protestant monks is drawn from 30 countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche (known as ‘Brother Roger’), and is one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. Each year tens of thousands of young pilgrims flock to the small village of Taizé in central France to share in the community’s way of life.
Prayer and silence are at the heart of the Taizé experience. Young people from every corner of the globe are encouraged to live out the Christian gospel in a spirit of joy, simplicity, and reconciliation.
This practice is one way to renew. What other practices do you use? How do you guard against burnout? What do you do to care for your soul?
For a reflection on burnout check this out.
For more information on Taize check here and here.