Tiredness Stills

Anyone with small children or a debilitating illness such as cancer will understand when I say there is a kind of tiredness so complete that any effort seems impossible. One wakes tired; one goes to bed tired; and in between times one just is tired. In my own case, I have more or less given up pretending it can ever be otherwise. I have even stopped snarling when people tell me to rest! Because, of course, the reason one is tired is that one cannot rest or rest itself is no longer restful. I refuse, however, to allow this state of apparently perpetual tiredness to be entirely negative. I bumble along quite happily until I simply flop — a sudden loss of energy, an overwhelming desire to close my eyes for a few minutes, you know what I mean. One doesn’t have to have children or be ill to know such moments, but they are probably more frequent if one does/is. At such times one can moan and groan a little, lament what one can’t do, or one can learn — painfully slowly in my case — that they are a moment of grace, to be treasured rather than railed against.

When one is very tired, life becomes much simpler. There is no need to pretend, no need to argue, no need to worry about what others think. What one cannot do, one cannot do — and that’s an end of the matter. One cannot plan ahead and one’s memory of the past is defective, so one is forced to live in the present moment. Jean de Caussade wrote beautifully of the sacrament of the present moment, but I must admit that until I became ill myself, I had never really appreciated the richness of meaning behind the phrase. We can only meet God, only love and serve him, now, in this moment; and when we are tired, as when we are asleep, all opposition, all attempts to control God, fall away. God can winkle his way in, as it were. Tiredness stills heart and mind and makes them receptive as they rarely are when we are bursting with energy and full of ‘me, me, me’.

If today you are feeling flat and weary, be encouraged. It is not the end of the world, though at one level it may seem like it. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to become more open to God, to be fashioned according to his ideas rather than your own; in short, it is an opportunity to let God be all in all.

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28 thoughts on “Tiredness Stills”

  1. Oh Sister… thank you for your ruthless honesty and insight. I’m reminded of the hymn/song. “Brother/Sister let me serve you…..pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too”. Hard….. be assured of our prayers and keep not fighting!

  2. Thank you for sharing your reflection on the present moment. Oh the gift and blessing in our weakest moments of connecting with God and being there with Him.

  3. Thank you. This has helped me to try and understand my husbands extreme fatigue linked to a life limiting illness. So hard for anyone not experiencing it to maintain their patience and compassion so thank you that was an answer to part of my prayer this morning. May we all be able to experience more of ‘God being all in all’.

  4. Although my present state of tiredness is only temporary I hope, post viral after Shingles it is teaching me to stop and listen to the present. Thank you for your honest insight and encouragement.

  5. Thank you for these words. It is the very first time that I have read a piece that from time to time is myself to a tee. 14yrs ago I suffered with (call it) Chronic fatigue, Stress related, Hypertension etc. After 2+yrs I slightly recovered but at times for years I was scared that by overdoing things, that it would come back. Now I listen to my body and if I get the feeling that I’ve been overdoing things then I try to cancel a few things and rest. Thank you again.

  6. Heartfelt thanks, dear Sister. It re-enforces how my late partner used to feel more and more due to having cardiomyopathy and latterly, arthritis plus breast and bowel cancer. Having been her carer in the last year or so of her life and now going through lamentable grief, I, too, now am experiencing overwhelming tiredness and sometimes exhaustion often caused by putting on a brave face to people.

    Your words are spot on and help give me permission to just go with the flow and allow tiredness to help with the healing.

    My love and prayers are with you.

  7. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and for commenting. I didn’t expect it to attract much attention, to be honest, but I’m glad to know that some have found it helpful. You are all in my prayers — and thank you for yours.

  8. Thank you for this. It has really spoken to me and I will continue to reflect. I’ve just recognised that I’ve come to fear tiredness and that I resist it in an unhealthy way, seeing it as a personal failure to be overcome. Seems crazy now I write it down! I’m sure I will think differently from now on. What you’ve written perfectly complements the sermon that was preached in my church this morning which was about living consciously in the present moment and simply saying “here I am, Lord”.

  9. Coming in belatedly to add my thanks for this lovely piece, and my admiration that you still find les mots justes in the midst of such tiredness. This is the sort of tiredness that I experienced after brain injury, the tiredness for which there is no word expressive enough. A fatigue which can be terrible, crushing: or, as you say, which can lend perforce a spare simplicity to life which allows grace to drop gently as rain.
    You are daily in my prayers.

    • Thank you. Les mots justes are often in the comments! To be honest, when I am completely whacked out, as during the days after chemotherapy, I don’t blog at all. One just gets though the day as best one can — something I know that many people, including yourself, can relate to.

  10. Thank you, as ever, Sister. I have just printed this for my friend – a great doer, but immobilised by a brain tumour – she won’t be able to read it as her sight is also affected but I shall read it to her and I know she will be much encouraged. Your ministry, as so often, is apposite…. So very many thanks,
    Pam

  11. Thank you, you have expressed it perfectly and without any sense of blame e.g. ‘you are doing too much’. I have had chronic fatigue syndrome for 30 years and have to negotiate every day. The blessing-in-disguise is that it has become my Hermitage. Your words are affirming and encouraging.

  12. Thank you so much for your comment today. i am laid up today getting over a stomach bug. I have been fuming at all the wasted time and not being able to get on with anything.
    You have given me a new perspective on my ‘wasted’ day.
    Thank you

  13. Thank you for this wonderful blog. Inspiring and impactful. Now I must try to persevere to live in the now ….’The Sacrament of The Present Moment’.

    I pray that you are recovering well from your last session of chemotherapy.

    God bless you all

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