By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
IT’S understandable that at the end of the day we get tired, dead tired even. That can only mean that we have worked a lot and have worked to exhaustion. But we should not be bored.
Boredom can only mean we are not happy with our work. We may not find meaning in it. We may even feel we have been prostituting ourselves, slaving for something that we do not like or finding that we have been cheated all the while.
The ideal situation should be that we get tired but very happy, contented and feeling fulfilled. This can only happen if we work with the proper motive which can only be love—love for God and for others. Love makes the tiredness due to work meaningful.
But that love has to be the genuine one, the one that really comes from God, not from the many fake ones that can give some perks for a while but later on can only become toxic.
The God-inspired love would know how to handle tiredness and other similar conditions like frustrations, disappointments, stress, forced idleness due to sickness or disability, etc. It would know how to derive something good from these conditions.
This kind of love is willing to make sacrifices, to bear the burden not only of one’s own but also that of the others. The energy and the rejuvenating power that it gives certainly come not from material, natural and worldly sources. It comes from a higher source that is spiritual and supernatural.
It prevents one from losing the love for work even as it helps in losing the fear for tiredness. It does not count cost. It simply gives and gives, and instead of feeling empty after so much self-giving, one feels more and more filled with enthusiasm and desire to work more, to give more.
It reflects what the Book of Proverbs says: “Those who give generously receive more, but those who are stingy with what is appropriate will grow needy. Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (11,24-25)
The love-inspired tiredness knows where to find true rest. It is in Christ who said: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11,28) More than that, it knows that whatever heavy and tiring tasks one has to do are really not so burdensome because as Christ said: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt 11,30)
We need to examine how we deal with our tiredness. Is it a tiredness out of the exertions of love or is it simply a meaningless tiredness? Does our tiredness lead us to seek God or does it want to find relief somewhere else?
A tiredness that does want us to go to God is one that would be most vulnerable to the weaknesses of the flesh that will try to reclaim its so-called “lost rights” and will seek illicit and sinful compensations. One would be feasting on the offerings of lust and otherworldly ways of relief. Of course, the devil would have a heyday.
It is important that while we are working and getting tired, we are always with God, always finding motives for loving and giving more of ourselves, not being afraid of the sacrifices involved. In this regard, what can help is always to keep in mind the passion and death of Christ which should be the ultimate standard of what true love and self-giving is.
We certainly need to promote a culture of work that highlights this way of dealing with the unavoidable tiredness and stress. In the families, churches, schools, and offices, this culture has to be developed. And given the temper of the times, it has to be consciously and vigorously promoted.