I call it "sparkle". Sparkle is that tiny bit of light in the eyes which reveals a lively, fully present person. Pastoral sparkle, like all sparkle can be lost or hidden.
When I was a seminarian, I observed older pastors who had no sparkle. They had dead eyes. I wondered about this and began observing that the general poplulation, at around 40, got dead eyes. Not all, but enough so that I promised myself I'd try to keep my sparkle.
You've seen these preachers at meetings. They sit there like lumps with no interest flowing anywhere. They are enduring the meeting. They may be holding their tongues. They are mentally at the golf course, tennnis court or in a Lazy Boy in the den. Who knows? Whatever is going on with them gives off no energy.
I know we can't be "on" all the time but what's engaging about someone who is dead-eyed unless you are the therapist trying to help them?
So, having said this, I give you the St.Casserole 27th Ordination Anniversary Coming-Up Sparkle Advice.
1. Take care of yourself. Sleep. Eat. Walk around. Dig a trench. Do something to keep yourself feeling as good as you can.
2. Have as many interests outside of your work as you can. Do something creative whether you think you are good at it or not. Read. Read theology, biblical studies or whatever your interest is in ministry. Read novels, biographies, history, science. Read magazines. Read and think. Read widely then put the new information together with your old thoughts.
3. Make some friends with people outside of the church. I know this is difficult but you need people to relax with and say what you want to say.
4. Spend time without your preacher-self "on". Drop that facade so you won't forget who you were before you became holy. I'm not talking returning to the sin dens of your youth but many pastors have a pastoral affect which is stilted, pious, goofy with holiness and silly. Put that aside and don't be a twit all the time.
5. Ministry is tough. Ministry is demanding. Find humor where you can. Watch a silly movie. I suggest the original "Arsenic and Old Lace", "Airport", "Spaceballs", "Harvey".
6. Please do not try to bring the Kingdom in by yourself. This is a team effort.
7. Ask God to help you balance what needs to be done in your ministry with doing nothing. We are poor models for stewardship of time if we work 24/7. Learn to be useless. Back off.
8. Keep your devotional disciplines going. Read your Bible, pray for others, sit in silence, meditate, put yourself into the scripture passage. Pray and listen.
9. Let's say you just can't get it together. You are sour, crabby and worn-out. Go see your internist and find out what's going on.
10. Get it wrong every now and then. Wear an outfit that doesn't work. Put on lipstick. (I write from my perspective so if you don't wear lipstick because you shave a heavy beard everyday, get a better haircut than you've had).
I've left plenty out. What would you add to this list?