What good is a metaphor if you don’t extend it?
Have you ever had a phone that just won’t hold a charge? I have one right now and it’s like a symbol for my life. It used to hold a charge for quite a while — even if I was using seventeen apps all at the same time! I could quickly shift from email to Words with Friends to Facebook to texting to Twitter to Google without draining the battery. Not now. Recently my phone battery has been draining quite quickly. I’m constantly closing apps, dimming my brightness, turning off the wifi, and trying to find a charger.
And that, in a nutshell, is my life, ladies and gentlemen. Not too long ago, my own internal battery was charged almost all the time to 90-100% I could jump out of bed at 5:25 am, shower, dress, put dinner in the crock pot, start a load of laundry, drop the kids at school, teach all day, attend a sporting event or run 4-5 miles, then go home, serve dinner, clean up, finish laundry, grade papers, and maybe even complete a few other tasks around the house. Sure, by Friday, my battery was down to about 30%, but an early bedtime, a cup of coffee, and I was out the door running on Saturday morning. Right back at it.
Now, on a really good day, I start at 85%. Three to five activities will take me right back to zero, so I’ve got to choose wisely. I can either go to the gym or go grocery shopping — not both. I can teach one class and meet with three students on Wednesdays, but I better be ready to sleep in on Thursday. If I want to have enough energy to go out to dinner at night, I had better sit on the couch recharging for an hour or two in the afternoon.
Depending on how low my battery is running, I may have to shut down some apps in order to have enough energy for the task at hand. For instance, if I have to drive a long distance, I can’t necessarily also have a discussion at the same time. If I have been grading papers and you stop to say hi to me in the library, I might not be able to access your name right away. Yesterday, I started some eggs boiling, but started blogging before setting a timer. My ‘egg boiling’ app totally shut off so that I could use my blogging app. When I heard whistling coming from the kitchen, it never dawned on me that I might have some control over it. I had totally shut down that part of my brain. It took eggs exploding all over my kitchen to remind me that I had started the process in the first place.
It’s Wednesday. Three days after my return from the whirlwind trip that drained my whole battery plus a supplementary external battery. I spent one whole day plugged into the wall. Another day at half-batt, with frequent trips to the charging station. For two days now I have been functioning at about 70%. I’m returning to my responsibilities and trying not to do too much. It’ll be a quick trip back to 0% if I’m not careful.
It’s been three and a half years with this less than optimal battery. I’m trying to learn how to function at this new capacity, but soldiers aren’t used to limits. I keep trying to report in for new orders, but the orders remain the same.
“Be still. Rest. I’ve got you in the palm of my hand.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”