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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

9 September 2015: Peter Jolly, Petersfield United Reformed Church

Towards a better work-life balance

As I write these few words, the school summer holidays are still with us, and many are looking forward to time away with their families. Equally, with working parents, increasingly it is the grandparents who are "on duty" for much of the school holidays, sharing the child care. So whilst September brings the beginning of the academic year for the younger generation, and the annual programme of many societies, it is also the time when many grandparents can hope to relax and recharge their batteries.

Ferry prices, plane tickets and package deals can be cheaper, and resorts take on a less frenetic air. There is a precious window when, hopefully, the weather remains mild and hotels, camp sites and tourist facilities remain open for business. It is a period when, despite not having grandchildren, my wife and I have often looked to take time away, to gain some sunshine, to set us up for the winter.

So, what of the future? Of course, no-one can foretell what will befall each of us. But one thing we can do, whether embarking on a new course of study, or a fresh domestic project, is to plan ahead and undertake it wholeheartedly. Time is a precious resource: none of us can expect to conjure up a Peter Pan-like existence.

So we should try to make the best use of time. But in achieving a sensible work-life balance, time spent resting, or in preparation, is rarely wasted. St. Mark's Gospel, Chapter 6 verses 30 and 31, records that Jesus himself felt the need with his disciples, harried by the crowds, to cast off in a boat to go somewhere they could rest for a while. May we also this autumn find the right balance between rest and preparation, relaxation, commitment, and activity.

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