I never really knew what dog-tired meant. I wikipedia-ed it and it apparently came from a legend about a king who sent his sons to catch dogs or whatever. But for me, when I think of dog-tired, I think of this picture…a puppy sleeping with his head on the stairs. That’s how I feel so often recently, like I could sleep anywhere, just give me a place to lie my head.
I’ve been realizing that people living in cross-cultural settings with a lot of changes are bound to feel a lot of stress. From what I’ve read 90% of people who score over 200 points on the Holmes-Rahe stress scale are hospitalized with a serious illness within two years. People living and working cross-culturally often operate at around 400 points…I think personality wise I don’t normally live over the 200 point level, but with an approaching move I know I am spiking.
For me stress means tiredness. Unexplainable tiredness. Yes, I just woke up 4 hours ago, but I’m ready for a nap again. Yes, I went to bed at 9, but I feel like I’m dragging through my day. Yes I have a hard time accomplishing everyday tasks. Yes I zone out in the middle of conversations.
I can’t blame it on culture shock much anymore. But, it’s been really good for me to realize culture stress and plain old stress still factor into my everday life. It colors how I react to what I am facing. I don’t feel so strange and guilty for being tired. I now understand it. And I can find ways of coping.
There are these wonderful things called cream baths here…an hour long head and shoulder massage, mixed with a deep conditioning hair treatment, mixed with some other love and sparkles… We have coffee shops that serve lovely hazelnut frappuccinos. We have Western restaurants that serve hamburgers overlooking the ocean. We have beaches. We have women’s soccer. In reality all of those things come with their own problems…the beaches are filled with staring, picture taking people. The Western restaurants are expensive. The cream baths are hard to take the time for…and so on.
In reality I can’t find peace by changing my external situation and escaping (though this is also needed sometimes); I can really only find true peace by changing my internal situation. When I find myself broken and not enough for the task, then I find true strength and peace.
We have this treasure in jars of clay…I am but a jar of clay, who glorifies Him in my brokenness.