There's a lot going on
I’m checking in after a weekend in Bakersfield for my nephew’s fifth birthday. It’s crazy to think that it was already five years ago when I got the call that Luke had been born. He wasn’t my nephew at birth since Deanna and I weren’t yet married, but he and Simon will always be the two boys that made me an uncle.
Uncle life is a good life.
Appropriately, his birthday pretty much falls on Labor Day weekend, and the extra day off serves as one big breath as summer hands the baton off to fall but life keeps sprinting.
I’ve been in my current role for about two years now, but this past month was both the busiest since I’ve started and the most fun.
August took me to Atlanta, then Haiti, then Portland, all for work but in very different ways. I made connections, met new supporters, met participants in Plant With Purpose’s program, and did a whole lot of learning. I’ve also been wearing raccoon eyes for about a month.
It’s been a little while since I last went at it this hard. It’s definitely tiring in many ways, but what I mostly feel is gratitude for the chance to have these exciting things on my plate.
There’s a lot of talk out there about how busyness isn’t a badge of honor, about how rest is super important, and how we need to take care of ourselves physically and holistically. I hear that. I totally agree with that, and I think culture still tends to glorify busyness in unhealthy ways.
I also do want to celebrate that there is a sort of busyness that is, for the most part, good.
Perhaps busyness isn’t even the right word for it.
You know how sometimes you go on a run and after a mile and a half you feel like dying. Then after three more miles you feel like dying. Then five miles after that you really feel like dying. Then you finish and you’ve never felt more alive. You know that feeling?
I think it can apply to more than just running.
I went to Haiti right after attending a conference in Atlanta. It was an event where I met so many people I’m still trying to follow up with a lot of them over a month later. It was a blast, but I spent every minute of my day socializing, grabbing coffee, and making introductions. It gave and took a lot of energy, and afterwards I immediately left for Haiti.
While there, Lei and I were at the end of another long filming day. Getting out into the field and grabbing the footage we needed, while making sure all our batteries kept charged and our lighting was set up just right turned out to be an exhausting task. We would get back into our lodge in the evening more than eager to wind down for the day.
I felt more physically tired than I had in a while.
Spiritually, however, I felt like I just wanted to keep going.
Hearing the stories from the Haitian folks we interviewed for our video reminded me that there is an abundance of hope to be found in the most humble places. It reminded me of how connected we were to people in rural villages, even if our lives look totally different. It reminded me that we have a role to play with the gifts we’ve been given. All of that made me feel especially alive.
Of course, this probably wouldn’t be sustainable as a permanent state of being. Even a good-sort of being tired can wreak havoc on your body. I’ve got some hardcore rest to catch up on over the next month. But as a quick sprint, a refresher in meaningful work, a month of meaningful chaos can be do wonders.
There’s something unbelievably rewarding about ending a day exhausted, but for all the right reasons. It’s like going on a long run, but for your soul. I think a lot of parents get it. So do lots of people in helping professions. And artists. And anybody who finds purpose in what they do.
Having something worth spending yourself on is nothing less than a gift. Like Steve Prefontaine said, “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
When you find something that meaningful, you want to make sure you’ve given it your all.