In In the Stillness/ Letters for You/ Seasonal Sketches

Little Pink Hyacinth {and thoughts about burn-out}

Guess what!! I have a blooming hyacinth!!! It’s pink and I’ve been checking on it several times a day. I still can’t believe I have actually grown something and that those little bulbs survived the cold winter.

Sometimes I feel like a little bulb. Some seasons feel like I’m buried in the dark cold soil, waiting for spring. But it is here now and I feel like that little hyacinth, just stretching up to the sunlight.

I’m afraid, however, that in my exuberance for the warm weather (that seemed to come so late this year), Patrick and I have been mad-dashing through all of our outdoor projects…buying seeds, planting, spreading compost and mulch, preparing a place for a basketball court, putting a hoop together, that yesterday I felt so incredibly tired.

And I realized that I need to pace myself with all these projects. Because as much as we love working our land, I only have so much strength and energy.

It reminds me of the first year we lived in Portugal. I was 16 and decided to take online college courses to complete my high school credits (plus count them for my first year of college as well!) So the first week my courses came, I ignored the instructions that told me I had a semester (or two) to finish these classes and decided I would finish each course in one week! I laugh now to think of my over-achieving, persistent self plowing through the first few days. It really was humorous that I expected myself to read hundreds of pages and write 700 word essays every day. I hadn’t even finished a week when I completely burned out. My mom took a look at my schedule I had created for myself and lovingly chided me for biting off more than I could chew. She helped me create a schedule that was challenging but realistic, and I worked through the year loving my courses without burning out.

I have always had that tendency–to do too much and then burn out (can you relate?). And this spring has been no different. Yesterday afternoon I plopped into my rocking chair after cleaning the house and thought I would write this post, but instead, I immediately fell asleep. Later when I was hurriedly making dinner so we could get outside and start digging our 50 holes for the trees and shrubs that are coming on Saturday, Patrick walked in from work and I lamented that I didn’t get much done because I accidentally fell asleep. He smiled and gave me a hug and reminded me that taking a nap was just what I needed.

So if this spring has made you jubilant, yet on the verge of burnout, take it from me–it’s okay to rest. It’s just fine to be unproductive for a little while so our bodies can recharge. It’s okay to take an hour or a day or even a week to push pause and be renewed. Don’t let your pace be so swift that you crash or collapse. Life is not a race. It’s just a journey and a little goes a long way. Remember–a little pink hyacinth doesn’t grow in just one day.

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