I’m sitting here in a house on the sprawling Flathead Lake in Montana.
It is a place which civilization has colonized, in parts, with lake houses and docks and wakeboards and such. People here are wealthy and they own big sailboats which sweep my imagination far away from Montana, but especially, far away from my family and friends and web of tangled, sticky relationships into the South Pacific, where the water is warm and clear and the border between sea and sky is blurred beyond recognition. Strange, that my thoughts should still yearn for such freedom when eight hours ago I walked through a herd of wild sheep, and an hour later, was ten paces away from a wild black stallion.
This is called burnout. I would say it is a terrible feeling, but it’s not really a feeling at all, but a lack thereof. I can’t seem to summon the spiritual or emotional energy to be awestruck at the power, grace, and freedom of one of America’s few remaining wild horses.
I am defeated and discouraged by my performance this summer. I wanted it to be a time of healing and reconciliation, of changed hearts and habits, in which I felt my family was whole, complete, united. I had a plan for making this happen: from little things, like doing the dishes every day, to big things, like talking with my parents about getting back to church. And despite some good talks and rare moments, by mid-August I became so self-absorbed a person that I spent most of my time on the couch in front of the computer, with dishes piled up in the sink and church put off for another week. It was just easier that way. From missional intensity to ugly apathy in a matter of weeks. Ugh. I could be so much more than that.
So I am trying to take these couple weeks (until the 16th, to be precise) to get back on my feet. I’m guessing that there’s no real cure for burnout except time: time to stretch, to recuperate, to rediscover. The people who give me life are slowly arriving back on campus, and more are on the way. I need to take communion for the first time in months, to immerse myself again in the Church, in Scripture, in prayer.
In the meantime, however, does anybody have any suggestions for burnout recovery? I’m sure I’m not the only one who experiences this from time to time.