What do you do when you are so tired you could die? What is that solution?
I think this is a fitting question for this time in the semester. It's the end of October, and many of us are spinning our wheels. Maybe all the students on campus feel this way, but I know that we in the School of Music are starting to feel it. Last week my choir sang the entire Verdi Requiem with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. It was SUCH a ball, but we spent every night last week in intensive rehearsals. My weekend was taken up by Verdi and my church's Fall Conference. This week I've had exams and papers, and senioritis has taken over my life: I just wrote one of my papers thirty minutes ago, and it's due in twenty. To top it off, I'm working on an adjustment in the way that I breathe for my singing, and yesterday I was so confused about it I thought I would hyperventilate. I was so desperate that I begged a friend for reassurance. "Please just tell me it's going to be okay."
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Maybe you have a lot to do and barely any time to do it in. Maybe you're so tired you could die, and your soul is crying out for rest.
Adventure is like this. It makes you weary. It takes it out of you. Adventures are full of walking and hiding, racing against time, waking up in the morning with no option but to keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you're bone-tired. I always marvel at Frodo and Sam: they were exhausted, in pain, and bearing a huge load; yet they kept going. They had no choice but to keep going.
That's a little how I've felt recently (though obviously not as drastic, and minus the Ring). I was walking back to my car the other day and I remember thinking that I wish all the extraneous stuff could just stop. To my mind, the extraneous stuff is anything that doesn't involve me singing or being with Christ. If I could, I'd just keep my time with Jesus and my singing. The end. Unfortunately, that's not an option I have. I have no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Write the paper. Go practice. Go to choir rehearsal. Go to lesson. Teach a lesson. Go to coaching. Go to class. Write. Practice. Study music. Sleep. Eat. Lather, rinse, repeat. It feels like so much, and I have absolutely no choice but to do it.
What do we do when we find ourselves in these situations? Normally I would say that we need to rest -- and we do! But how do we find rest when we have no choice but to keep plodding along?
There are a couple of ways I'm learning. Being with our people brings us rest. I'm always renewed when I have a long heart-to-heart with the people who understand my soul. Paying attention to the things that bring us joy is also restful. Look up. Look around. Take your eyes off your feet for a hot second and remember who you are and Whose you are.
Also, take advantage of any time you really don't have anything to do. When I have a chunk of time in which to do nothing in particular, I often search for something to do. So I'm not good at this one yet. Just allow yourself to be a person and rest. If you have to, set aside a chunk of time in which you don't have anything to do, and use that for your time of rest. For me, that time is usually in the evening. I try to leave my evenings open (unless I have rehearsal, in which case all bets are off). Do something that nourishes your soul. Read. Journal. Go to bed early. Lie in bed and listen to music. Do something that helps your soul to be renewed.
The important thing is to recognize your tiredness and to nourish your soul a little bit so you can keep going. That's what happens in all the adventure stories. My favorite characters are able to stop for a moment, even if their resting place is not what they would wish, and take the time to nourish their bodies and souls for the next stage of the journey. We're all called to an adventure, but rest is part of that adventure. We have to rest so we can live out the calling that we've been given.
May we look up today. May we look around. May we stop and take a moment to breathe, to think, to be with ourselves and our Creator. May we take the time to nourish our souls so that we can continue to live out our calling well.
How do you find rest when you're utterly exhausted? I'd love to hear about it!