The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Letters and Responses
Have not been here for a while. A sermon on this site a few weeks ago had a dramatic impact on me. I was feeling at an all-time low. Everywhere I looked I saw cruelty and evilness. God wasn’t talking to me anymore. God wasn’t answering my prayers. My life was being tested to the extreme. I had no time to myself and felt that everybody wanted a piece of me. I couldn’t answer the phone without somebody either wanting money or wanting a favour.
Work had screwed up my wages, again, and I was really struggling financially. I started getting tired all of the time and eventually went to see a doctor. I had loads of blood tests taken – the results were surprising: I was perfect in every vitamin, mineral and element I was tested for, but my cholesterol was a little high! The doctor suggested I go on a low-cholesterol diet! I told him that I have been a vegan for nearly 18 years, so didn’t consume any additional cholesterol anyway!
I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (basically I’d been doing too much, not sleeping, too much stress, and I just couldn’t cope anymore) and told to take time off work (apparently extreme stress and exhaustion can cause your body to manufacture more cholesterol). I was really stressed, fed-up, and literally at my wits end, digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole that I had no chance of escaping from.
Shortly after this, I was reading a sermon on this website. It was about how we all need a break every now and again, and how we need to get away from it all (or something along those lines). The sermon hit home. I packed my tent and some clothes and headed up to the western isles where I could be alone (also spent some time with a group of Buddhists on Holy Isle, near Arran).
It worked: I was feeling better, more awake and able to cope with more. Yes, my problems were still there, it’s just that they didn’t seem as insurmountable now. The only downside to it was that I was able to go back to work. We all get to the stage where, no matter how much we do, there’s always more and more that needs to be done. The time we have always seems to get less and less. Every sad and abused face from every letter and every e-mail calls out to you personally for help. The simple fact is that there’s only so many hours in the day; there’s only so many things that we can do.
If we carry on without taking time out for ourselves every now and again we’re going to burn out and our health will suffer. If our health suffers we won’t be able to do all of the things we’re wanting to do and we’ll dig ourselves deeper and deeper into the pit and end up in that dark and foreboding place, again. We all give so much time for others, what about ourselves? Even Almighty God needed a day to rest and recharge his batteries, didn’t he? Just to say, thanks for that sermon; it was brilliant. The Tempests in the Teapots sermon one was also quite apt as well.
Reply from Frank and Mary Hoffman
We're encouraged to hear that one of our sermons helped, and we're always
amazed at how God uses the things we do in His will to reach out and touch
others, even if its after many years.
We also well understand the situations leading up to burnout, as we're always
bumping our heads against that wall, too. But unlike Michael, we are unable to
focus on a single issue, because we are constantly involved in every aspect of
the cruelty and suffering in the world to both humans and other animals through
our ministry and the web sites we host. And we find it very hard to get away for
more than a day or two. However, we still have found ways to vacate the
depression through our vegan cooking and publishing our recipes and through our
nature walks and photographic studies, which also help us focus on God.
The key, is that we all need these quiet places 'to get our batteries recharged.'
In the Love of the Lord,
Frank and Mary
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