It’s long been my seasonal tradition to grow tired of myself in spring. Part of the timing has to do with the campus calendar on which I lived for 17 straight years. As a campus pastor April and May brought a dizzying blur of activity followed by a trough of self-examination.
This spring-cleaning of the self also loosely lines up with that rustic, old church calendar. You see, lent works as a sort of discipline overdose driving one into the realization that all this self-effort is a total waste of time. I realize this isn’t what the time of sacrifice is supposed to be, but hey, Christmas isn’t supposed to be about annual gift man either.
Anywho, by the time I get to Easter week I’m usually pretty dang tired of myself. Due to the fact I’m an ego-maniac for the rest of the year, I consider this a gift. Within the Christian tradition I believe the closest (non-heretical) approximation would be the prayer of examen.
Simply put, the prayer of examen revolves around seeking awareness of God in your life and then identifying stains which your rigorous scrubbing has only ground in. Aka, the gift of self-tiredness.
I consider myself pretty driven. Maybe I’m no Steve Jobs, but I tend to keep a pretty busy thought life bent on constant progress, invention, reinvention and self-improvement. The problem is that I’m continually aware of the 90% of crap going unaccomplished while I’m focused on the other 10%.
Any one of my commitments to be a husband, father, citizen, neighbor, or voice of my generation (yes, I make commitments like that) could occupy 100% of my efforts and still fall short. But after spinning in my hamster wheel for 10 months or so, spring rolls around and I get off.
Maybe it’s all the new growth, the fresh take on life. Maybe its the realization, according to my faith, a man/God has forgiven my failures and compensated for my shortcomings. Either way, I’ve stumbled upon a fresh exhaustion of myself. But it’s within that tiredness of self that I freshly seek the other. And ultimately, other is always more interesting than self.