i’ve been feeling tired in my soul over the past week. one afternoon i got home and just crawled into bed. not really fair on my family. wife has been sick and children have been demanding. and yet the weariness i felt was overwhelming.
i don’t usually look for reasons for these kinds of things. mostly i’ve just ignored my body (and maybe my soul) and expected myself to “get over it”. but i am learning to be kind to myself. so I wondered, “what’s the significance of this feeling?” and even, “is there a significanc?”
Then a thought popped into my head. It’s nearly the anniversary of a painful experience in my life that marked the beginning of the end of my marriage. It’ll be 7 years next week that the marriage that I took so for granted began to crumble. Sure, it had been crumbling before that, but i wouldn’t face that reality. But in February 2002 the reality came crashing down as my ex-wife began to make her need for freedom and independence known…
But the main reason for this reflection is not actually that history. the thing i’ve been wondering about since that thought popped into my head is, how do I know that that’s the right “diagnosis”? Is this “anniversary” the cause of my tiredness? or is it some other thing?
I also began to think about how people often explain to me the significance of events and experiences in their lives. They often speak with great certainty about the meaning and significance of events and experiences. But what if these are just meanings and significances that we give - because we need explanations. We want explanations.
We need a diagnosis!
I think there are probably many reasons I’m feeling tired. A big factor is probably the weight of responsibility I carry. I’m not blaming anyone. I choose to accept that weight. Then there’s the way i work. and my neglect of night-time rest. I also haven’t been writing and doing some of these life-giving things that inspire and energise me. I’m not actually sure that the “anniversary” link is such a big factor. I just don’t think I’m that sentimental to still be affected by the memory.
But I have enjoyed thinking about the concept of diagnosis: the process by which we decide “what’s wrong”. and the resulting search for a plausible and acceptable explanation. I think we choose to give event and experiences in our lives significance and meaning. It’s something we all do and will always need to do. These are the stories (and THE story) that will be told about our lives.
but my caution comes from the realisation that it could be easy for ONE explanation, or “meaning” to take hold of us - to dominate our reflection - thus not allowing other possible interpretations, meanings and connections to be made.
I would suggest that if prayer and reflection be our spiritual practices, then they always include time to reflect and pray on how we have chosen to signify, interpret and tell the story of our days…
a diagnosis often helps a lot. after a long search, an explanation can be of great relief. But i’m thinking that a diagnosis can also be dangerous…
- when it claims to have the singular explanation for a “problem” (as if there is only ONE factor or cause behind the complex experiences of our lives) and
- when it makes us passive and closed to other possible meanings, explanations and significances which may be real, but overlooked, because we’ve “got” our diagnosis
may you be - increasingly - well!