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.