I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to scream. I want to go and sit quietly in a corner by myself, shut my eyes, and let music take me away. But I can’t. I want to hug a certain someone, because he’s warm and kind and his arms are big and strong, and he always makes me feel safe and protected, like everything will be fine. But I can’t have that either, because Joe is too far away.
I’m at work, and I’m burnt out.
My boss adores me. He says I have limitless amounts of energy. That means no matter how much work he gives me, I will do it, and I will do it well. And I will do it without [much] complaint. Sometimes, when it gets too much, I will throw a tantrum. I have done that just twice in three years, so he knows it will pass.
But not today. Today, I am finished.
For the last two months, I have worked from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Sunday to Sunday. My child has seen so little of me that she has suggested I quit my job and go teach at her school so that she can see me more. She said she wishes I could get sick at work, so that I have an excuse to come home and hang out with her. She is only six.
I have worked long hours before, but not like this. In my line of work, we do this two or three times a year. We rush to meet deadlines during submission season, so for a few weeks at a time, we work all out, just like we are doing now. But this time, it’s just too much.
My gummi-juice is drying up, my reservoir is kaput. I’m so tired I can’t sleep, I just lie in bed with my body and mind sore, unable to function, unable to think, almost unable to breathe. I’m spent.
But I love my work. I’m committed to it. And I love my baby. So I keep pushing. I keep saying one more day, one more week, one more project then I can rest.
Last week I talked to my boss. I told him I was utterly exhausted, and that I needed a break. He said I could take two weeks early in August. That was it. That gave me drive. Each time I felt like collapsing, too tired to eat or chat or even to tweet, I told myself two more weeks, just two more weeks and I’m free! It’s all that’s been keeping me going.
Today is Friday. It has been decreed that we are not leaving this office till the project is done. Leo, hakuna kurara. My baby is pissed but I tell myself ‘two more weeks, just two more weeks’.
Then my boss called me. New project. It’s six months long, but they need it in one. He knows I can do it. He knows I will do it, simply because I’m me. He says he will give me whatever motivation I require [and he says it with confidence because he knows I won’t extort him. How I wish I had it in me to extort him!!]
He says I can have a month off, two months even, but only after I am done. He knows that by that time, our window slump will be gone, there will be other projects to be done, so no holidays for me. He knows that I choreographed my holiday keenly and carefully, because I knew it was the only time I could safely get away before next March. And he knows I will perform regardless, because I am me.
Except I’m not me, not anymore, at least not today. I’m finished. It’s taking all I am just to type this. I haven’t got the edge to handle this, I haven’t got the drive. I haven’t even got the time. What I’ve been using is borrowed. The only reason I haven’t crashed is because I was vice-gripped to the promise of those two weeks. So even the month he has promised after, I cannot see or feel it. For me, it’s nothing.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my faith. I love my God,and I want to live for Him, but I never do. There’s no reason for it, no excuse, no deep-seated psychological generational demon or anything. It’s just something I desperately want to do, but just can’t seem to.
I’ve made a new friend. He’s lovely and sweet and smart, and he teaches me something new every day. He’s deep and wise, and I’ve no idea how he got that way. But he helps me when I’m lost in my faith, and he doesn’t even know it. I value him a lot. I was talking to him yesterday, and I got so many lessons. I was going to say his name, but he’s really very private and he might get mad. Plus I don’t think he reads my blog. Just in case you do, you are one cool brother, and I’m very glad I met you.
Anyway, so thanks to this new friend, I got an insight. I prayed for the desire to love and serve my God. I prayed for the hunger, the thirst, the intense desire that will make me pursue belief with the zest it requires. I prayed for a miracle, an invitation to faith.
I’ve had lots of miracles in my life already. Enough to know that God is on my side, that He works in my life, and either I’m really really lucky, or he really really likes me. I know that He provides for me. He gives me everything I need in the very moment when I need it. His provision has ranged from a cheap house next to my office to a bonus to pay my baby’s school fees to a beautiful unknown career to the courage [and the necessary burst of adrenaline] to leave an abusive marriage. So why is it that I still doubt?
Because my God is dramatic. He likes things last minute. He likes to push us to the very edge of insanity before He pulls us back. He likes to take the Israelites right up to the Red sea before he parts it, or to push his son right to the very edge of despair, until the child cries ‘My Father, why have you forsaken me’ then he whispers ‘My child, it is finished’ and gives sweet release.
He likes to take me right up to the deadline, when I’m tugging at my hair and the landlord is banging at my door before I get the call that my money has come through. I don’t know why He operates like that, but he does, and it builds my faith. Well, it should. Instead, it fills me with doubt.
So I prayed for the courage to believe, and to keep on believing, no matter what. And then today happened. Perhaps this is my answer. Perhaps this is how I shall plant my kernel of faith. Perhaps this is my proverbial defining moment, when I finally truly realise what He is to me.
For the longest time I have wanted to hustle, to work freelance, to quit the rat race grind, But I am afraid to. I don’t know where to start. A few days back, my baby got so upset that I asked my boss to let me take my work home so I could be with her, he agreed. Best day ever. It strengthened my need to work on my own. Not for the money, not for the freedom, not for the space. Just to spend more time with my little girl.
This week I have seen so many freelance opportunities. I don’t know why they are coming now, or if they have been here all along and I just didn’t see them. I even got a side gig that paid in advance. How cool is that? But I’m so exhausted that I can barely hack it. I’ve applied for a bunch of those gigs, but I don’t know if I’ll get them. And even if I do, with my day job being what it is, I may not have the strength to fulfill them. I believe in signs and symbols, and this may be my time, but I don’t know … why now, in the very thick of timelessness and scheduled madness?
If I get my side job done in time, if I make it through this day, through this week, through my boss’ project, it will not be because of me. It will not be because of my talent or my intelligence or my competence. It will not be because of my endless bubbles and my boundless energy. It will be pure unadulterated providence. Coz I’ve soaked my wick with tears, crumbled it and bled it dry. My fire is gone, quenched beyond redemption. This candle is utterly, totally and completely burnt out. Father, please take me home.
I am thankful for my weakness, because it is only when I am weak that I can see my Jesus’ strength. Thank JC, and be blessed.
♫ Creed ♫ One last breath ♫
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