I was thinking...
What is it that makes our thinking weary? I assume we all experience those moments (maybe even seasons) when “we are so tired that we can’t think straight”? Perhaps we find ourselves in a rhythm of busy-ness to the point our intuitive senses and brain are depleted. Or maybe we find ourselves in a place of loss…the holidays often cause such loss to elevate itself in our lives. Whether it be job loss, divorce, death of a lovedone, or simply realizing the loss of happy days gone by, our thinking can hit a paralyzed zone of extreme exhaustion. What is it that makes our thinking weary?
Watching the news, following politics, or listening to any media pundit can make our thinking weary. We become cynical about truth. We wonder “What is truth? Where is truth?” This sort of weary thinking leads to ‘trust confusion’. Who do we trust? How can we trust? We find our heads shaking east to west in sheer disgust about this journey to know the truth in matters, small and large.
Conflict is exhausting and can lead to weary thinking. I used to worry about ‘road rage’ but now I worry about murder. Twenty years ago, if you inadvertently (or advertently) cut someone off in traffic, you might receive a horn blown with the magic finger. These days, you cut someone off in traffic and you could get shot. It is as if we must be on alert all day every day. The pain so many of us carry with us is an unseen guest…that is until this “unseen guest” comes blazing forth leaving pain and grief in its wake. If this world is this way in 2021, what will it be for the grandkids in 2041. It tires me to think about it. When I fear, I do not think straight.
The unknown has been around for as long as the known has been around. The unknown can cause worry and fret. Worry and fret makes our thinking weary. Worrisome thoughts have a way of occupying to much territory of our brain. “What if this? What if that?” can literally cause us never do anything beyond mediocre at best. It is true we are varied by our personalities, upbringing, etc. as to ‘risk tolerance’ but regardless, when worry is in charge, our thinking is affected in non-healthy ways.
However, there is a way to avert weary thinking. This ‘avert weary thinking’ plan can be found in this first season of the Christian year we know as ‘Advent’. This season of anticipation and expectation. This season of faith, hope, joy and love is a lesson in waiting for the one (Jesus) who said “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)
Advent is that season of ‘watching and waiting’ for the coming of the Christ child to the world. Why would such a child come? He came to save us and, in the process, to show us ‘how to do this thing called life’… “Watch how I do it”, says Jesus.
What is it that makes our thinking weary?
The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop