The Restless Beauty of Being Tired, A Teacher’s Tale

The Restless Beauty of Being Tired, A Teacher’s Tale November 16, 2011

I’ve been blessed to be scarce at Vox Nova.

I’m tired. Emotionally, physically, intellectually,and spiritually: I’m exhausted. This semester of teaching and coaching (and so much more) has been full. It has filled and emptied me at a stroke. I often stumble my way back to home or office, saying hello to students, to friends, to my self, filled with an acute emptiness that fills my heart with gratitude. There is something going on here. I see God in a strange, new way.

I am busy, yes that’s true, but I am not fatigued by simply being busy. There is a seriousness, an urgency at hand that is draining my will and filling my spirit. I cry a lot these days. I’m lonely while surrounded by rejection, a sense of homelessness, real acceptance and friendship. Love. My God! I’m falling in love again.

I think this loves flows from the fact that I am unsure about whether I will stay at Wabash or go—or have nowhere else to go—and whether I should stay or go. This love lives in the minds, hearts, and lives of my students—my companions, my friendly enemies. They are restless too. I see them emulating me as I emulate them. Little do they realize that their effect on me is more profound than my somewhat predictable effects on them. We’ve struck a chord together. A dark chord we all know is permanent and fleeting.

I write a lot about education, about how schooling and education are not the same thing. Only now have I begun to see this in the way I see it now. And it tires me out. My family, close and far away, is also changing. My sense of family has changed too: it has grown and deepened.

I don’t know what it means, what any of this means. As usual, I am happy to defer meaning for love, for being in love.

You, the readers at Vox Nova, have been companions to me too. But right now I am too tired to write to you about anything other than what I cannot say to you. I am not sad to report this impotence, I am happy in the way of a cold beer after a full day of manual labor. I hope you can find a place of beauty in your own tiredness, in your weak, pitiful, and wondrous lives.

This I know: I am not bored.

Boredom has been redeemed by restlessness, by the yoke of the heart, by the burden of the mind that is light and easy. And exhausting.

God is here! God is.

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  • Wow. Beautiful, Sam.

  • Peter Paul Fuchs

    What is the picture of??

    • A yoke.


      • Mark Gordon

        My yoke is easy, my burden light. A beautiful reflection indeed, Sam.

  • An emptying into the fullness of rest:

    “Rest is not idleness; indeed, restlessness is the torment of idle people. It is not relaxation. Relaxation should never be necessary, because the nervous tension which makes it so should never be present. Rest, far from being relaxation, is a culmination, a fullness of gathered peace. Like the fullness and stillness of waters gathered to a flood tide.” (Caryll Houselander: The Little Way of the Infant Jesus)