maroonfallI have been so incredibly weary of late. Amanda and I have, perhaps more than we should have, pushed ourselves to travel and see people every spare moment this summer. And now, as the summer comes to a close, I begin my new job exhausted.

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Life changed radically when Ellie was born. Aside from loving her more fiercely and protectively than I love anything else in this world, she has demanded whatever free time I have. I’m beginning to understand, I think, the life of the constantly busy. There is always something else I could be doing. Some chore that needs doing. Some errand that needs running. A question I’ve started asking myself with some regularity is whether what I am doing in any given moment is best.

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My weariness is not really sleep related. Ellie sleeps great. And, anyway, I’ve never needed much sleep. I’ve woken up at five every morning for years so that I can greet the dawn. And my weariness is not caused by the actual strain of doing chores or running errands. And in a lot of ways, my weariness is simply a function of the season.

As you may remember, I hate the summer but I love the fall. I hate the way the summer sun bleaches me dry and drowns out color and beauty in the uniformity of its light and heat. And looking back at my blog posts, it seems that every year about this time (as evidenced here, here, and here) I start getting antsy for pumpkin flavored things, temperatures in the 60s, and rain. I start getting excited about the beginning of school, the season of Advent, and the ubiquity of scarves.

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Fall also, more than any other season, reminds me of my ideals, my call to simplicity. Fall reminds me that I want to buy local produce from local farmers. It reminds me that I want to spend hours every Saturday with windows flung open and friends making music while I take the week’s bounty and create soups and stock and prepare the week’s meat. Fall makes me want to pray the hours and mean it; the cooler days and earlier dusks make sensing God easier (fall is like dusk writ large; a seasonal thin space). And of course, as a teacher (and recent student), fall, following a summer of individualistic pursuit, is the beginning of good and meaningful work, work that collaborates with God in the renewal of creation.

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But my weariness is also particular to my current life circumstances. Amanda and I have been figuring out how to be parents. We’ve been figuring out how to share Ellie with friends and family. We’ve been figuring out how to live the life of love and simplicity while raising a family and having to pay bills. One outgrowth of our growing understanding of what is best is that I left my PhD program in May and took a job teaching 8th graders at a classical Christian school. Quite aside from learning the ropes at a new place, something common to beginning any new job, I also have to learn to not be a student for the first time since I was four. And while I am over the moon to get the opportunity to join the community of faith and of the mind at a classical and Christian school, I also am aware that the learning curve will take a lot out of me.

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All of this, of course, while we move AGAIN. Amanda and I will let our lease expire at the end of September and will move in with her parents while we look for a house to buy. The transitions and change, it seems, never stop.  And that’s where I think my weariness primarily comes from. I yearn for stability and sameness. I want to do the same things in the same way every day without much deviation. And maybe that’s the lesson here: unless one enters a monastic community, life rarely affords one the opportunity to get in a rut and stay in it. Which brings us full circle. Discernment about what is best in each circumstance is vitally important as is, as I’ve emphasized most recently here, is the cultivation and formation of a habitus.

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Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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