This semester has been out of control. What I have discovered about college, and possibly about life in general, is that it doesn't really get any easier. After every semester, I always take comfort in the thought that the next semester will not be so rough, but that thought always proves to be a myth. So the last few months have definitely been some of the craziest of my time at Ozark. Normally, I'll need to stay up till about 2 a.m. doing homework once or twice a semester, but I probably did so about six or eight times this semester. My problem has been that I have three classes that require an unusual amount of work. I don't know why my academic advisor let me take these classes at the same time. I thought he was supposed to be my friend. Also, I haven't even shaved since mid-October, just because I've felt so busy and lazy and unconcerned about what I look like. It's not as cool as it might sound, because me not shaving for seven weeks is what most guys look like after not shaving for four days.
My body is tired. My mind is tired. My emotions are tired. And now I'm home for Thanksgiving break, sitting on my mattress that doesn't sink in like my one at school, tapping away at my keyboard while I sip a Coke with a picture of Santa Claus on the can. And it's all so refreshing to feel like I can stop and breathe for a change. I don't think I've ever looked forward to a break from school so much before. If I didn't get a break for a couple weeks later, I very well may have lost my mind. It's actually one of my fears in life to go crazy. I'm pretty certain that someday down the road, I'm going to go insane, except I won't know I'm insane and I'll think everyone is out to get me, kind of like in A Beautiful Mind. But at least then they can make a movie about me: A Mediocre Mind. It'll be a hit.
Rest is so important in life, and yet we often do a terrible time of practicing it. This is probably in part because of our culture, where so much is demanded from us in so many spheres of life. When your days are full of classes and homework and meetings and responsibilities, topped off by relationships and hobbies, and then topped off even more with frustrations and disappointments, it becomes difficult to create a little bit of space for mind and body to rest. In addition to that, many of us do waste so much time. When we need to get something done, we sit around on facebook or writing blog posts, which just pushes off our responsibilities, which then pushes into our times of rest. The only result of this is that we feel more and more weighed down, and we drag our aching bodies out of bed and down a canister of 5-Hour Energy just to make it through the day. We're not made to be able to handle all that, and we nearly lose our minds because of all the furious activity of our lives.
I think it's so cool that God wants us to rest. In fact, for the Israelites, he commanded it by telling them to keep the Sabbath day holy and to abstain from work. He knows that our tendency is to work ourselves into the ground, so he wants to make sure that we stop and breathe every once in a while, that we replenish ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Yes, God wants us to work hard and to serve him with everything we've got. But he also wants us to relax and talk with friends, to sit and be contemplative, to stuff ourselves full of turkey, potatoes, and pie and to fall asleep in front of the TV during a football game. We need to take advantage of these opportunities for rest, these times to refill our empty selves. Otherwise, it's like trying to pour milk on your cereal from an empty jug. And dry Corn Flakes only get us so far.
Have an awesome Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for all of you, whether I know you're out there in Internetland or not. Read the other blogs on the sidebar (especially Charlie's post "Campus Craziness. He makes some especially good points in that one.) Go relax and think about something significant. Go read a book that you want to read, not just one you have to read for class. Watch some basketball. Eat Spangles. Actually, I guess I'm telling you all to do all the things I plan on doing with my week. So what I mean is this: Be like me this week. How egocentric of me.