Peace in the midst of all the things

On Sunday, while waiting for the 11am church service to begin, my spouse and I fell asleep.

We’d already been at church for over three hours, helping set up and volunteering in the 9am service (me as a lead usher and my spouse teaching Sunday School for the preschoolers). We’d woken up before 6am and still managed to arrive late somehow. We hadn’t been out late the night before, but we were both stricken with this exhaustion that led us to rest our eyes before the service began.

I woke myself up quickly, remembering where I was. Even though the service hadn’t started yet, I figured it wasn’t a good look to be sleeping in the auditorium while wearing a shirt that clearly marked me as a church volunteer. I also thought, how are we this exhausted when we don’t even have kids?

In the course of running my business, being Board Treasurer of VONA, and just being a regular adult person, I often find myself slap-silly tired. My life keeps business hours of about 6am to about 7pm, when I can finally have dinner, shower, and aim to be in bed by 9:30pm, and my days are pretty nonstop. Even without writing, I find I miss commitments because I’m promised elsewhere.

My spouse’s schedule is tighter than mine. As a junior partner, he not only has his work to do, but also flies around the country (or trains to NYC) to develop business for his firm. He sometimes sleeps at the office because it’s just easier that way.

After the past week, our lives fell on our eyelids in church.

When they’d opened again, an older white gentleman came up to us and said, “It gets better, I promise. They grow up eventually.”

“We don’t have kids,” I said. “That’s the problem.”

We laughed.

“Oh man, I thought you had two under five and one of them was up sick all night!”

“Nope.”

“Is it work?”

We nodded.

“That gets better, too,” he said, clearly retired. “Just slow it down so you can enjoy it all.”

Once the service began, my spouse and I were perfectly awake and enjoyed the Advent-appropriate sermon about mercy and grace.

The gentleman came back to us again at the end of the service. “Remember: slow down.”

We smiled and felt loved by this man neither of us had ever met, but I had to be honest with myself that something about it bugged me, and it was this: If we slow down, that means we are not doing what we’ve been called to do.

For some reason, God has entrusted my spouse and me with a lot. I like to think it’s because we were faithful with little (say, school) and now we have heaps of responsibility. One day, God will add children to the mix, to challenge us even more.

So, my goal is never to slow down or to rid myself of things, but to have peace in the midst of all the things.

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