I mean it can happen to carpet cleaners or farmers or car detailers right? It could happen to stay at home moms or students or ditch diggers or plumbers. It can even happen to car salesmen, right? Ok well maybe not them.
But it can happen to pastors. This feeling of, heaviness or despair or just tiredness at the work you do.
It's been here about a week, but I saw it growing a bit before that, now that I have some hindsight. Just a tiredness at the work I guess. A heavy plodding work that can feel like trying to shovel water up a hill, like no reasonable end is in sight.
When that happens, and yes it happens occasionally, I hunker down and plod forward, keeping moving, keeping doing the things I know to do in hopes that the shear momentum will carry me through the rough patch. I get really narrow in my perspective and I reserve my precious little energy for the work that I do. That usually means the family isn't in my view at all. Oh they are there, to my left and right, but I don't interact with them as much. Different distractions or extra reading is set aside, also to save energy.
As it begins to happen to me, I'm usually unaware of the heaviness. Sometimes it's just an ongoing sadness or I notice that it takes me longer than it should to do a regular task. Then somewhere in the heaviness and hard going, I shift into plodding mode and begin to conserve energy. I don't notice that my family notices, and I can't give it words yet, because I suppose I'm still involved in the action of fighting it. But then something will happen like herself tries harder than she normally does to get me to eat first thing in the morning, or someone will buy me a cherry Dr. Pepper, and I see concern.
It happens occasionally, and it has happened now and then in my past, but I've always been able to eventually get past it, or to get better. Is it tiredness or perhaps depression? I haven't wanted to name it that because I work with people who fight daily with ongoing depression and I'll tell you I take my hat off to them because it's a hard life. I understand that. If I had to face this x 20 every day I'm not sure how I would ever make it through. I think it's one of the reasons I really feel for those lost in the darkness of depression, because I've tasted it, and it is one bitter pill to swallow.
Yet in the midst of this weakness or just toughness of these days, there is grace from outside me that shows up in an honest conversation or phone call that energizes me like I haven't known for a while. It's an external something, life maybe that begins to course through my veins and opens my view and my world gets big again if even just for the moment.
Yes I take steps to care for myself, and if history proves itself again, I will emerge from this season one day soon. But maybe it's enough for today to own it, and name it in a whisper, and be thankful that at least I can see it for what it is.
And maybe tomorrow will be better.