Life Advice



Ask Amy: Pastor’s child feels weight of service

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I sense in your desire for a break that perhaps your faith life might be bit dry, too. You might want to convey this to your father by saying something like, ‘Dad, you have been one of the most influential figures in my spiritual journey. Your sermons have fed me time and again. I still want to hear these sermons, but I’m also feeling led to explore ways to nurture my soul. I think that means stepping away from my leadership positions.’

Here’s an idea that might allow you to soothe your own soul while staying connected to the church (as well as offering a spark for some new vision, too).

Many churches are struggling right now, but I believe we have been offered fertile ground for experimentation.

Make an offer to your dad. Suggest that you’d like to be a committee of one. Maybe call it the Committee of Holy Exploration and then take some time to try some new spiritual practices.

I highly recommend Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, “An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith” (2010, HarperOne), which has some wonderful and off-the-beaten-path ways to experience God in the world. (I especially recommend the chapter on the practice of saying no.)

Taking this time away might nourish your own faith life as you collect some new seeds to help your church experience growth again.


Will this bend or break your dad’s heart? Possibly. But my hope is that this time of retreat might be a time of personal renewal and when your dad sees that your heart is revitalized, his own will mend, too.”

Dear Amy: It recently occurred to me that my husband will never retire.

He is a wonderful guy who absolutely loves what he does (he owns his own business). Honestly, I thought we would be spending our twilight years together, but as I near my own planned retirement, I see more and more that he will likely NOT stop working.

Do you have any ideas for me?


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Kevin Siers Christopher Weyant Ed Wexler Agnes 9 Chickweed Lane Arctic Circle