Advent: Day 3
Psalm 6:6, Revised Standard Version
Teaching may look easy to the uninitiated, but it is really hard work, and I don’t know a teacher who doesn’t know weariness.
I read a book several years ago about some newly-minted teachers in New York City, who figured they had finally become “real teachers” when they looked in the mirror and saw that they had “raccoon eyes.” They were so weary from lack of sleep—staying late after school to tutor students who needed extra help, grading papers at home at night, and planning lessons on the weekends—that they had dark circles under their eyes.
If you’re a teacher, weariness goes with the territory. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done.
One night not long ago I was so tired that I couldn’t even read the latest John Lescroart thriller to unwind. I wasn’t moaning or flooding my bed with tears or drenching my couch with weeping as the psalmist seems to have done, but weariness was weighing me down, and I finally surrendered to it and crawled into bed at 7:30 p.m. I fell asleep immediately. When I woke up the next morning, I felt like a new person.
Advent is the spiritual antidote to the frenzied holiday shopping season. It’s also God’s invitation to shed our weariness and become reinvigorated. During Advent, God whispers, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28). By coming to God and accepting the divine offer of rest, we are made anew.