Monday, July 14, 2014
I've spent the last week in the middle of a huge house project. My kids at camp, I took a vacation as well. It was a retreat full of solitude and physical work, mess and creative chaos; a labor of love.
I listened to music and my favorite books; an introvert gorging on seclusion.
I arrived at the end of the day satisfied with all the good, hard work I'd done, my mind at rest; until I'd see one more thing I could accomplish. Rather than call it a day, I'd find one more thing to finish up. I'd stay up late, my mind no longer clear and open, but tense and cloudy. Working too-tired, I would paint one more bathroom, or spend two hours on a fruitless internet search for something we would end up not needing in the end.
The magic gone, it was all labor, no love. A wrecking ball of a night cap, I'd fall into bed ragged and edgy, too tired to sleep. I'm very sorry to say I indulged in this practice nearly every night. I would wake up the next day, enjoy it completely, then ruin it in the end; like a too-big bowl of ice cream after a good meal had already filled me up. I know better. I know better, but still I sometimes find myself obeying the impulse to resist rest, to keep achieving, producing, racking up points.
This is the lure of one more thing. Accomplish one more thing and you'll really be done. One more thing and you'll feel better. Real peace is on the other side of just one. more. thing. Keep going. One more thing will be enough. It's never enough.
It's an impulse that seems to appear exactly when I am meant to close up shop for the day, to rest and be done for now. When I am sharp, I recognize it; I know it's time to quit and I do so. When I'm sloppy, it's my undoing.
I love work. Good work and productivity bring me alive- until they kill me. This shift from life to death seems to occur at the precise moment when God says stop, and I say no. He says enough for today, and I say not yet.
God is good to contrast himself with the noise so I can know his voice and follow it. So I know what to savor and what to throw out with the trash. He shows me my limits, gives me peace when I surrender, rest, and reflect. He promises that tomorrow we may do even more incredible things, but for now, let's stop.