“For some time I have sensed that many people feel that they are careening down an unmarked road of life. We believe the road is going somewhere, but we are not sure where that somewhere is or how we will be certain when we’ve reached the destination. In transit we move at a dangerous kind of top speed, because we think that will quicken the time of arrival. And with every mile we grow increasingly frustrated and tired……The weariness is a far cry from the excitement that usually marks the beginning of the trip. What happens? What goes wrong?”
In the deepest jungles of Africa a traveler was making a long trek. Coolies had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason they just sat and rested. When asked about this strange behaviour, the traveler was told they had gone to fast the first day, and that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.
The lady who told this story in her book then goes on to say, This whirling rushing life which so many of us live does for us what that first march did for those poor jungle people. The difference: they knew what they needed to restore life’s balance; too often we do not.
Incredibly these words were written fifty years ago.
Of course we are all well aware the buzzword of the today’s workplace are stress and burnout. Our workplaces are full of people who were once committed to their organisation but now no longer appear to have the will of the strength to go on. In so many organisations there are many people who were once active and ambitious but are no longer involved except perhaps to “turn up?”
Being with some people is exhausting. A number of years ago I spent an 8 hour shift with a person going through I manic phase of a psychiatric illness. After about an hour I was exhausted. It wasn’t because I had to anything physical but he was in a constant state of action. He would play several songs for me to listen to in the space of a couple of minutes. Then he would want to do watch TV but he would only want to leave it on any one channel for a few seconds. Then he would walk in circles in an exercise enclosure. All the time there would a constant stream of words sometimes they would make sentences but the effort of trying to keep track of them was fatiguing.
Of course there are some people who energize us. They leave us with a fresh sense of purpose. They give us dreams and ideas. Understanding the effect people have on us will help us to understand where our spiritual energy goes and we can anticipate when we need to restore it.