I can't remember a time when I wasn't tired. It is as normal and ever-present for me as the nose on my face and the ears that poke out of the side of my head. It has had phases, all bringing a different breed of tiredness.
Teenager Tired - late nights, perhaps the odd drink and early mornings required of life at college and the paper-round retained for years for the cash it provided.
Retailer Tired - heavy days of manual handling, unloading rolls of carpets, a couple of tons of rubber underlay - single handedly, extensive hours, the adrenalin of sales, the lack of time to eat a proper lunch (lunch is for wimps, apparently) and the compensation to appetite of gallons of poor coffee - all fed a tiredness that was more physical than emotional.
Parent Tired - the crippler! The unremitting needs of twins, disturbed nights, woefully early mornings, no stopping, high energy, high stress (in a good way when worrying and willing on little ones), high physicality born of much lifting and carrying, few moments to pause - all feed a tiredness that is now becoming more and more debilitating.
Ministry Tired - the mind of a minister never stops. We are reflecting on things, reflecting on reflecting on things, praying for people, hoping and wishing the best - added to by the exhaution of carrying worship for others, carrying their hopes and fear with them, feeling what they feel, journeying alongside - all these things feed an emotional tiredness at times.
Tiredness is the thing I hate most about my existence on this Rock. I love my life and all those in it, but tiredness is, little by little, crushing me. My arms feel heavier, my eyes sting at times. I am normal, and my life is normal - the tiredness, though, seems unremitting. I am one who needs a Straight Eight at night, takes a while to wake - and getting a Mixed Six with disturbance and a fraught 'first-thing' - all these things cause me to feel stress simply through the act of waking. Tiredness for me is a weight around my shoulders. I am an energetic man, but in the background, there is a deficit. So often, I get to a stage where a gentle voice in my head yells 'please just leave me alone - just for a minute' - a moment before I shake it off and carry on.
Ministry is a perfect joy, and parenthood too - for me. However, the combination of the two is at times problematic. I am so blessed, but I wonder if need bigger batteries. I seek no sympathy, just a place to call out, and this is the place. Life with my beautiful daughters is everything I could ask, but it never stops. Were anything else so constant other than these two perfect little girls, then I would surely have fallen over by now.