Tiredness Stills

We all know that tiredness kills. It is a sign we have seen thousands of times as we hurtle along the motorways, and I daresay there can’t be many of us who haven’t said, ‘He/she will be the death of me,’ as we wearily tried to respond to yet another call on our time and attention. But tiredness also stills. It strips away much of the false self we create for ourselves, with its noisiness and endless activity. It leaves us as we are: naked, vulnerable, and possibly much nicer than the public self we present to the world. Tiredness shows what we are made of, and it is, as Hopkins would say, ‘immortal diamond’.

Recently, I have experienced my fair share of tiredness, and for someone who has always been full of energy and ideas (we all have illusions about ourselves. Ed.), it has been quite hard to accept. At first one struggles against it, as though one could, by sheer will-power, overcome the limitations of mind and body. But one soon realises that that is impossible. One must go with the flow; and sometimes one discovers in the very tiredness a purpose and meaning one did not know existed. It is as though tiredness, by showing us how human we are, allows scope for the divine.

I have often wondered what was in Jesus’ mind as he lay with his head on a cushion, asleep in the boat, obviously dead-tired. We all know he awoke to a storm, which must have been nightmarish —except that Jesus stilled the storm with a word. Power flowed out of him, weary as he was, because he put up no barriers to his Father. Maybe there is a lesson there for all of us who feel a bit tired and weary today.


12 thoughts on “Tiredness Stills”

  1. In absolute tiredness, where everything has been set aside, or shut down, there is space for a strangely unexpected flow of energy.

    Equally, everything having drained away, we are indeed left bare, with no defences. I imagine John the Baptist, and certainly Jesus, finding that total emptiness in the desert (real, and figurative).
    It is, in that power of emptiness, attractive. Was this a part of an anchorite’s Calling, that accepted the Burial Service being read over her (usually, not always, women) by the Bishop, as a glorious finality ?

  2. Such a lot of truth in this. When I had to write my self assessment for my final year of theological training, I had to try and draw some positives from a period when I’d been almost unable to walk because of psoriasis, and exhausted by recurrent cellulitis. I think the phrase Icame up with was “ministry of stillness” – bearing in mind that this was preparation for ministry, I’d found my thoughts easily turned to praying for people when my body prevented me from ‘doing’ for them.

    I’ve recently felt a bit concerned when I’ve seen people praying to be cured of things supernaturally because they are ‘too busy to be ill’ or ‘can’t spare the time to rest’. I’ve done the same myself. I don’t believe God sends illness to teach us things, but I do wonder if a life which can’t accommodate rest and recuperation is the best basis for ministry.

  3. Reading this today is more apt than you could possibly know! I think God is speaking strongly through you. As always, I hasten to add ! X

  4. Full of empathy, Sister. I’m struggling with *having* to do virtually nothing; but I haven’t reached any sort of peace about it yet … sadly.

  5. Feeling tired and wasted today, due to a tummy upset, which woke me during the night and has been working it’s way through the system.

    I know from my working life in the Army, when on exercise or operations we worked constantly long hours, snatching an hour here and there, that tiredness does kill and even the army had to bow down to the health and safety aspects of working hours, particularly drivers hours, which they’d previously been exempt from.

    In the eighties I was in Germany for four years, where we exercised quite a lot and I spent many hours driving from different locations on resupply runs, always in the dead of night, navigating as I went from map etc. Mostly without a co-driver to help with the map reading. I can remember arriving back in the early hours at our location, only to be told, we’re moving!

    Exhaustion had to be put to one side to complete the move and eventually to snatch an hours sleep, before going again. I learned to sleep virtually anywhere and I can still lie down all of these years later and snatch 40 winks. I’m sure that it’s about resilience, we need sleep as part of our bodies restorative functions and it’s documented that sleeplessness can be a contributor to ill health in the longer term.

    So, I’m off to snatch 40 winks – just in case 🙂

  6. The same goes for Elijah when he lay under the tree. Worn out and feeling like life wasn’t possible. God fed him and he rested.
    I pray He does the same for you.
    Rest and sleep are a gift so we should all be willing to accept them.

  7. Be of good hope and cheer. Sometimes tiredness feels as if it will never leave. I’m not talking about the tiredness of depression, but that which occurs often during radiation treatments. When I had radiation therapy, I came home from the hospital every single day and took a four hour sleep of the dead. Then I got up for a few hours before going to sleep for the night. After the treatments ended, it was a full six weeks before I did not need the daily long nap. That particular tiredness does end. Be of good hope and cheer.

  8. Thank you for all your comments. I think tiredness is something we can all relate to, hence my post, but I must reassure you that I am not (yet) in a state of utter exhaustion—just tired enough to be grumbly! 🙂

  9. Some interesting comments to your blog Sr. Catherine and I was reminded of one of my favourite passages from the Old Testament:

    Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV
    [30] Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; [31] but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    There is a lot to be said for the ‘ministry of stillness’ as Pam mentions above. Being still, resting and hoping in The Lord does bring spiritual renewal when the flesh is weak. 🙂

  10. Thank you. I stumbled across this after researching pictures for my Theology course. Tiredness is affecting me also and exhaustion was a factor in my leaving religious life only last year, I was 4 years in. I felt it was a failure but am trying to surrender, as God works through all these things, leading us to be the person He created us to be. And I’m sure He is pleased when we realise that we can’t always have the control we desire, but instead accept his will and as St. Augustine said, we find peace. It seems to me that there may be lessons to learn when we come across these kinds of challenges and that these will enrich our lives, helping us to love God more, as well as ourselves and others, if we let them. God bless.

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