Bell Jar of Tar

I went swimming on Saturday. Well, I went to play in a pool with my daughter and her friends.

I don’t swim very well. My daughter is also learning to swim. I bet she’ll be better than me any second. Neither of us likes to put our face in the water.

But the real thing I’m trying to talk about is how I felt after. Swimming, even just playing in a pool, is very tiring. I had hoped that this tiring effect would mean my daughter would be low-key.

It didn’t work that way.

She was full of excitement and plans and activity.

I was exhausted–as if I were neck deep in tar.

Yes, I took a long nap. And I still felt immobilized with tired.

I did not want to be so worn out. I had things I wanted to do. I have plans, projects and responsibilities. I can’t just sit this out.

Although the exhaustion levels had varied, I had spent the last few weeks feeling unable to get things done.

Which was strange, because before I had felt so energized and full of purpose–so recently.

Now I remembered that sense of purpose distantly–like sound heard deep in water.

Sunday was come, and the last day of the weekend. I had a committee meeting at church to be part of. I really had to get this stuff together, and so I tried to unstick myself.

I was able to put together my notes during the sermon. What was wrong with me? Why was I waiting until the last minute?

I met with our committee and mentioned how I was feeling stuck in tar.

“Me too!” they all said.

What? How is that possible?

I had assumed that I alone was the one who disappointed herself and couldn’t get moving.

But the other people said that the summer heat and lack of school structure was their reason for lacking oomph.

I still feel like I have a bell jar of tired over my whole body. Somehow, though, it feels better not to be alone.

If it’s not a uniquely personal failing, it’s easier for me to have mercy on myself.

Hopeful self-compassion is a very good place to be in.

Even while I’m stuck in tar.