I have never had wonderful sleep patterns - I would usually fall asleep quickly, then bolt awake around 2:00, not easily returning to slumber. But in the past few months, the pattern has reversed itself - my body simply won’t fall asleep. At first I tried to chalk this up to COVID stress, or five-year-old stress, or theatre-is-in-an-existential-crisis stress. But it wasn’t thoughts of pandemics, or work, or kindergartners that kept me up. It often wasn’t anything at all. I could read a book, watch TV, practice piano, exercise - anything at all, but the tiredness wouldn’t come.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that my lack of rest is due - to my lack of rest.
I am a little bit of an over-committer, and have always eschewed taking more than a day off (our honeymoon was the first time I had more than two days' vacation in a row in over a decade). Because I love my work, it never felt like I needed a break. But the combination of getting older, and work and the world being uncertain, and a rambunctious child has taken its toll. I know I need rest, I need time away. But I’ve never learned how to do it right. Even now, I’m writing this while I’m supposed to be “off the clock” at my in-laws' house in Southern California, and I’ve had two remote work meetings today. This constant activity is keeping my brain and my body going hours past when I should be at rest.
It is said in Ecclesiastes 4: “Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and a chasing after wind.” And, “‘For whom am I toiling,’ they ask, ‘and depriving myself of pleasure?’”
Only now, in middle age, am I trying (and struggling) to learn to rest, to give myself a break, to allow the world to spin without me for a little bit. It is good for my health, good for my family, and good for my soul. It will all still be here tomorrow, or next week. I hope, as you look ahead into summer, and as the world comes back to normal, that you are able to find the time for rest, to be with the people you love, to do the things that bring you peace.
- Daniel Thomas
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.