Last on His List

When his work became too demanding, James and Elizabeth Rock had to schedule some together time.

Elizabeth's side: His work devours our time together

James and I met at Bair Lake Bible Camp in 1987. It was love at camp site. We were married five years later.

Since then, we've given 15 years of our lives to a camping ministry. Camp ministry requires a huge commitment of James's time and energy. Though it's been a joy, it's also a constant struggle for him to make time for me and our kids.

It feels as if too much of the year goes by, especially in the summer, when work steals our together time. The 12-hour-plus workdays seem never to end.

Sure, I knew what we were getting into when we joined the ministry. But I'd hoped we would spend more time together, side-by-side.

Again and again, James will say, "I'll be home in ten minutes." Then something will happen at camp, and he won't be home for hours. The worst part is he always has great excuses: "I had to call a homesick camper's mom," or "A staff member was struggling and needed to talk."

How can I compete for his attention when I'm up against a hundred immediate ministry needs? I constantly feel as if I'm in the back seat, a low priority on his list.

Lately, his speaking and writing hobbies have become more like a second job. Now even when he's home, he's working on that stuff.

It feels as if I, and our time together, keep falling lower on James's list of priorities.

James's side: It's hard to know when to walk away

I love Elizabeth. I love our time together.

I also love my work at the camp.I I wouldn't trade working with staff and campers for any other job in the world. But it seems something is going on every minute of every day that needs my attention. It's too easy to lose myself in the work.

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Busyness; Marriage; Time; Work
Today's Christian Woman, Fall, 2006
Posted September 12, 2008

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