I’m drinking my afternoon cups of coffee. Cups.
So many of my friends have babies now; newborns, infants, or restless toddlers ready for adventure at all hours of the night; but the truth is that baby or no baby, so many of us are Tired – note the capital T. If it’s not physically, it’s emotionally. If not mentally, then spiritually; or all of them in one yarn ball mess of I-just-needa-REST.
So it was a real blessing to come upon Laura’s post – The Theology of Tired. It won’t give you a zap of caffeine, but it will assure you that your fatigue is likely an effect of something holy, something beyond what you can give alone. Click through to read the whole of her post and take heart for your weary self, knowing there’s a point to all this.
Post by Laura Kelly Fanucci, Mothering Spirit
I am tired.
I am tired all the time. I’m tired of talking about how tired I am.
I know I knew tired before I had kids – tired from college, tired from work, tired from grad school.
But since 2009 I have been weary to my bones. This is the happy side effect of answered prayers and three growing children.
My husband and I joke that we could sleep for a decade and still be sleep-deprived. This would probably be scientifically true if I did the math. But you know. Too tired.
Sometimes tired feels like a character flaw. Take better care of yourself! Go to bed earlier!
Sometimes tired feels like an inner critic. Stop complaining. Everyone’s exhausted. Move on.
But tired is the plain fact of my life. The contours of kids and work and home and every other devotion and demand to which I give my days and nights.
I love it all, but I am tired.
After a week where we tried to go to bed early every night – tried but got tied up with work again, caught up with chores again, tripped up by something hilarious on the Internet again – I’m hiding out during my children’s nap/rest time. Trying to think theologically about tired.
(Which is hard when we stayed up till midnight and then woke at dawn. Again.)
Tired is the antithesis of Sabbath. Since we’re supposed to be Sabbath people, am I failing by being tired? Maybe.
Tired is the cry to God throughout Scripture. The weary words of the people wandering too long, the Psalmist stuck in the pit. Is tired simply supposed to spur me back to God, swap whatever burden I’m dragging for the lighter yoke? Perhaps.
But here’s where I get stuck. Setting aside sleeplessness that’s stubborn or selfish, there’s a certain segment of sleep deprivation that cannot be removed. It is the side effect of sacrifice.
And I see it all around me – parents with young kids, parents with teenagers, adult caregivers for aging parents, students working toward degrees, professionals caring for those they serve.
I’m starting to think we’re Sabbath people who are meant to be tired, too…
Vocations are tiring things. They wake us in the night. They pull us out of bed in the morning. They keep us working.
So if we are called, then we will grow tired along the way. We haven’t failed. We have given a fully faithful and perfectly human response. We have given ourselves, body and soul.
Children are stirring. Dinner is unmade. Four Word documents are still open.
I will be tired again tonight.
But setting aside a moment’s complaints and an afternoon’s acedia, I am deeply grateful for the bone-tired of my life. I’m called to love. And love is tiring. [continue for a Prayer for the Sleep Deprived]
Laura Kelly Fanucci is a Catholic wife and mother of three, the Research Associate for the Collegeville Institute Seminars project in practical theology, and the author of Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting (Liturgical Press, 2014). She writes about faith, family, and parenting as spiritual practice at Mothering Spirit.